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About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • KEEP CLEAN WPA POSTER, 1939

Coaling the Stove: 1942

Coaling the Stove: 1942

January 1942. Bantam, Connecticut. "Defense homes. The heating unit is in the kitchen of Fred Heath's four-room apartment in the new federally-financed homes for 80 families just a few minutes from the Warren McArthur factory in Bantam. The well-insulated coal fire puts steam in the radiators and provides the heat for cooking. The tenants are well-pleased although on several nights when the temperature dropped to 10 degrees below zero they were forced to replenish the fuel every two or three hours. That cigarette Fred Heath holds is not tailor-made, by the way -- he likes to roll his own." View full size. Medium-format nitrate negative by Howard Hollem for the Office for Emergency Management.

 

Central heating

Till the 70's, we had a spring and fall heater embodied in a Kalamazoo cast iron stove. A center griddle, two six inch plates, an eight inch, and a nine inch, triple ring plate. The nine inch was used for fast boil by lifting out one or more center rings. The stove had a right side water heater, a top mounted warmer and a sheet steel hot box on the rear which made the kitchen a sauna in summer. I don't blame my Mom for junking it for a gas fed Monkey Wards Enamel stove.

Little Ann Heath & her mom at the sink

Pets

I spy a bird in the cage, and a dog under the table.

Stove

It IS still available now! They're heavy duty cast-iron enameled ranges called AGAs. They are available to burn coal, gas, even peat. They're apparently very airtight, and are basically on 24/7...yet use minimal energy to both cook and if you want them to, heat the house too. Coal in the USA has gotten an unfairly bad rap, generated I'm sure by the oil folks. In eastern Pennsylvania, heating your house with clean, hot-burning Anthracite coal costs one-third as much as doing it with oil, gas, or electricity.

[They have one set up in a model kitchen at the Home Expo showroom near my house. Only $12,000! - Dave]

Stove

A cooker that heats the house! Why can't we have that now?

[The still make woodstoves. Not quite the same, though. This is more like a small coal-fired boiler. - Dave]

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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