Pat Shingleton: "Delivered Coal and Delivered Heat..."
Before the gas furnace, many in Northern extremes relied on the coal furnace. Situated in the basement of the home the burning coal heated an iron “bell” that radiated heat into the rest of the home through a series of insulated ducts. The radiated heat ultimately made it into "registers" that warmed the rooms and the house. Before bedtime it was the duty of my father, grandfather and later us, to stoke the fire and layer coal to provide some overnight warmth. Eventually, the grate that held the coal ashes sifted into a chamber that was removed on a daily basis. Weekly, my grandfather would “drop the grate” on Saturday afternoons to remove remaining ashes and to provide more heat than needed - while he took his bath. Coal heated most homes in those areas and the arrival of the coal truck was a treat for me and my older brother Kevin. With faces pressed against the living room window, the coal-man positioned his dump truck adjacent to the basement “coal” window.” His metal chute was attached to the exterior and once the truck bed was elevated, here came the coal. For us it was the excitement of watching a dump truck dump and the sound of the coal funneling down the chute then rumbling below us into the coal cellar. It sounded like bowling balls hitting a tin roof. The only way the coal-man made his delivery was “if” the ground was frozen. A stuck truck was even more exciting.
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