Have you ever…

Have you ever warmed yourself in front of one of these on a cold winter morning? Then you know.

You know how warm they make the room and how they seem to wrap their heat around you and in you. Many mornings I sat in front of a bathroom heater as long as I could before I began to put on the clothes my Mother had left there for me. She knew I was slow in the mornings and allowed me plenty of time to dreamily wake up in front of the heater. I don’t remember if our heaters were electric or gas, either way that wall heater was warm.

Have you ever warmed yourself in front of one of these on a cold winter night? If you have, then you know. You know even a small open space gas heater will “toast your buns” very nicely!

My maternal grandparents’ house was heated with heaters similar to these. One in every room, but only lit if you were going to be in the room for a while. Usually the one in the main room of the house (which included the kitchen) was lit most of the time during waking hours. I remember my mother standing in front of it for a little extra warmth. The room was always very warm and comfortable against the Mississippi cold. The living room on the front of the house had a larger heater where the tiles were inside the metal case. The bedroom where I slept had a small heater that my grandmother would slip in the room and light every morning. By the time I woke up the small flame had warmed my room. However, when the lights went out at night, so did the heat. That’s why my grandmother had many handmade quilts for the beds!

Just to note these heaters were very efficient, but had no flue and as a result had dangerous implications when used. They used up all the oxygen in the room which led to 1) excessive water vapor ( I remember the windows in their house always being very wet, 2) carbon monoxide as a result of the incomplete combustion of the natural gas, and 3) soot and unburned hydrocarbons create unhealthy indoor air. And, yes they do blow up If you’ve ever seen a house destroyed by a space heater, then you know.

In a way I miss their extreme warmth, but I’m thankful I’m not striking matches and lighting heaters all winter. Central heat comes on and goes off without any interference from me, all day and all night.

3 thoughts on “Have you ever…

  1. These heaters are charming, but not so much anymore given the inherent dangers. Still…it is nice to remember those simple pleasures. We have electric fireplaces in 3 rooms which we use when we are in those rooms. And we also have an electric blanket as the heat goes way down during the night. Same strategy as you describe in your post from long ago but just implemented a bit differently.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I–like most of us living “in the country” grew up with them. They were turned off at night and only the living room had one. In one old house, there was a small bathroom heater in the kitchen, and I caught my bathrobe on fire leaning over it while eating breakfast–I was 4. Of course, I ran, but my mother caught me in the next room which had double French doors between it and the living room and beat the flames out with her hands. That memory is seared into my mind. Once in school, they taught us “stop, drop, and roll” but I am not sure if a 4 year old would be capable of doing that when her bathrobe was on fire. I do think they were often quite pretty and some very ornate.

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