I have one, a different brand. I cook on gas with it. Mine's fairly new.
Put it over medium to heat. Start mixing your batter. Flip the iron over to heat evenly. You want to get it fairly hot so don't be afraid of giving it more heat. I give it a shot of release spray (pam) before the first waffles are made. Lift the top plate and pour in a bit less than half a cup of batter. Experiment to find the amount that works with your size iron and batter choice as these are variables. Close the lid and flip the iron. I flip right at the start as I find the bottom plate hotter than the top plate at this point.
Watch the steam coming out of the sides of the oven. When it slows down, flip the iron again. You can give a light lifting pressure on the handles to check doneness. It should release with light pressure. If it resists much, the waffle isn't done enough and if you keep lifitng, you'll tear the waffle between the two plates. You'll have some trial and error the first time you use it to figure out timing.
I use a fork to help lift it out of the iron when cooked. Remove the waffle, close the iron so it doesn't tip over or fall. The bottom plate will be heating while you take the waffle to the table. Then lift the top plate, add more batter, close and flip.
If I were cooking on an electric coil, I would probably not use the outer ring as it wouldn't get hot enough. I'd want the iron in direct contact with the coil This will complicate the opening and closing of the iron. Same for an induction stove. I wouldn't use it at all on a glass top stove as you'll probably scratch the glass top.
I went crazy looking for one of those. I have a swedish one (very cute, makes four heart-shaped waffles) but couldn;t find another for the life of me. I finally found this weird one, that needed to be put on an open fire outside to burn the wax or whatever it was treated with off (!!!!) (not very easy for her, living in an apartment in london! In the end she had to lug it on the bus across town to her friend's house who was having a barbecue).
Anyway, once i had that i never saw the point of having another electric appliance to take up half a cabinet space. It works perfectly, you heat one side, then put the batter in and turn it over. The other side heats and cooks the other side, and then when you take that one out, you pour the batter in the second side it was on, that is, take one out and pour the batter in.
That's so neat! I have a big thing for cast iron/aluminum cooking utensils. I've never used a waffle iron though. I think I'll definitely have to try to find one after seeing yours.
I have a couple of similar cooking devices but I don't think any of them are as old as yours, mostly made in the 40s. One kind is the Toas-Tite sandwich maker (of which my boyfriend and I have probably...oh...15 now and blog about) but something slightly similar to your waffle iron is called the "Waffle Dog".
My boyfriend's aunt picked it up at a flea market but we have yet to use it. My guess is that similar to your waffle iron, we're supposed to fill one side with waffle mix, then pop in a hot dog on a stick (there's a little whole at the bottom where the stick is supposed to come out), close, and cook until the waffle batter is cooked.
If any of you have waffle recipes you recommend, I'd love to give it a try!
I made waffles this morning with my cast iron waffle iron. I used a different recipe, a fairly simple one from Joy of Cooking but it was generous with the melted butter; up to two sticks in just 1 3/4 cups of flour for extra crispy lusciousness. The recipe gave options from 4 Tablepoons, 1 stick and 2 sticks with no other changes. I used what was left of a fairly new stick, about 6 tablespoons and have to say that it was a better waffle than the recipe I've been using. If you have a Joy of Cooking, look up waffles in it. You won't be disappointed.
I could see the batter sizzling in rendered butter as it puffed up my iron during cooking.