Posted: Jan 11, 2012 5:52 PM by Pat Shingleton
Previous columns explained efforts to stay warm with the use of a coal furnace. Homes built in the 1900s had limited insulation. Even though the coal furnace was stoked for the overnight it still didn't provide adequate heat when the temperature dipped to -5 at daybreak. Sometimes, beds were kept warm with a brick, heated near the fireplace and wrapped in a towel while some used a traditional "bed warmer." As noted in a previous column, this device looked like a giant skillet with a long handle and lid. Coals, placed in the container, warmed the bed by repeatedly sliding the pan between the sheets and the outer blankets. As an early-morning paperboy, it wasn't unusual to "hit-the-sack," fully dressed, to avoid the morning chill at 6:00 AM.