Before electric soldering irons, that's how it was always done. A "two pound set" was a pair of 1-lb soldering irons (also called coppers), one of which would be left in the fire while the other was in use, then you'd swap 'em. Telephone offices had burners in little alcoves so there was always a hot iron within reach.
http://www.dunton.org/archive/MWDuntonCo/1917_Soldering-Kinks.pdf is a goldmine of this stuff.
The very last page of that pamphlet is an ad for new electric soldering irons, which were apparently just coming on the scene a century ago.
[O]ne of the wonderful things about life on this earth is that it keeps dishing out lessons until we take notice.
@IBob, buried gems of wisdom
in an otherwise shitty story
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