"My family’s in the iron and steel business,” goes an old joke. “My mother irons and my father steals.”
The joke appeared in a college humor magazine in 1930 (the Google Books date may be incorrect) and on a radio program by American comedian Ed Wynn (1886-1966) in 1932.
University of Michigan humor magazine
Her parents are in the iron and steel business. Her mother irons and her father steals. — Tiger Phi Beta
26 July 1932, San Antonio (TX) Express, “WOAI,” pg. 5, col. 8:
The latest opera described by Ed Wynn during the NBC Texaco program was a “gangster” opera. Wynn sairt it was about a boy “whose parents were in tlie iron and steel business. His mother irons and his father steals.”
4 March 1938, The Vidette Messenger (Valparaiso, IN), “De Motte” by Charles Curtin, pg. 6, col. 3:
Here’s what we heard a youngster of this modern age say the other day: “I don’t have to work, my parents are in the Iron and Steel business, “mother irons all day and Dad steals all night.”
The Speechmaker’s Complete Handbook:
A Storehouse of Colorful, Point-making Material and Complete Planning Guide for Public Speakers
By Edward L. Friedman
New York, NY: Harper
His family were in the iron and steel business. His mother irons and his father steals.
30 April 1955, Aberdeen (SD) American-News, Bennett Cerf column, pg. 4, col. 3:
A jailbird, reminiscing to a sympathetic caller, declared, “My folks, you know, are in iron and steel. My mother irons—and my father steals.”
Google News Archive
5 June 1967, Reading (PA) Eagle, ‘Capitol Opinion” by William Ecenbarger, pg. 16, col. 3:
Teen-aged boy to his girlfriend: “My family’s in iron and steel. My mother irons and my father steals.”
The Mammoth Book of One-Liners
By Geoff Tibballs
London: Constable & Robinson Ltd.
My parents are in the iron-and-steel business. My mother irons and my father steals.
‘Are your relatives in business?’
‘Yes - in iron & steel’
‘Yes - my mother irons & my father steals’
7:26 AM - 24 Jul 2014