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This Old Crack House

From log house to farmhouse. Farmhouse to townhouse. Townhouse to apartment house. Apartment house to crack house. Crack house to our house. Our house to our home.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Irish Question?

I have a good supply of books about interior design, decorating, paint techniques, fixing up houses, curtains, kitchens, bathrooms, plumbing, roofing and numerous other subjects which I buy at our local library book sales dirt cheap and with four solid years of fixing I guess I have become somewhat experienced in a wide range of subjects. So with all this in mind I may just start posting tips and hints when I get bored (which is quite often being "Mr. Mom" to a 2 yr old.)

Well, today I learned something new. I was reading about lighting in a copy of "Household Discoveries" by Sidney Morse published in 1909. It indicates that electricity was convenient but costly to have installed. (It is my understanding that most houses did not have electricity until the late 1920s.) Gas was much more common, but not just natural gas. People had their own acetylene generators in the basement which produced gas by combining water with calcium carbide. There were also gasoline tanks that were buried at a depth of 6 to 8 feet next to a dwelling. Gas was produced by passing a current of air across the surface of the gasoline by using a blower. The blower was powered by a windmill, water or by means of weights and pulleys installed in the cellar.(Remember, this is 1909. Cars were not common so gasoline, a by product of kerosene production, was used for many things including cleaning fabric and as a medicine.) THIS was most interesting though because I know so many of you are remodeling kitchens now or in the future and I know that appliances are on your minds! It reads;

Gasoline Stoves.- Those who have generator gasoline stoves often complain that the gasoline smokes and ruins wall paper. To avoid this generate the fire with wood alcohol. Keep the alcohol in a bottle holding about a quart. Or a machine-oil can holding about a pint will be found convenient. If the latter is used, a piece of cork should be inserted in the end of the spout to keep the gasoline from evaporating. Or use a piece of Irish potato for this purpose. Pour a little alcohol in the generator cup, and light it the same as gasoline.

What I really want to know is WHY does it have to be an "Eyerish" potato?

An appropriate post for St. Patrick's Day.....


At 3/16/2005 1:36 PM, Blogger K said...

Hmmm, that is very good information. Our house was built in 1902, and the first house in town with electricity was built in the late 1880s, so we were thinking ours probably was built with electricity. But maybe we were wrong. Either way, we have some original fixtures from 1915ish-1920ish (very specific, huh?).


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