Turn the switch and heat your bath

20 Aug

Here’s a little reminder that, in years past, product safety wasn’t quite such an important thing. This article is about electric water heating for farmers in “comparatively primitive” conditions, and comes from February 1920 Popular Science:

Often it is neccessary, under these conditions, to pump the water at a pump in the yard, heat it in a kettle or pan on the kitchen range, and pour it into the tub, continuing this procedure until there is water enough for your bath. How often would you be inclined to bathe if you were compelled to do all this preparatory work every time?

The difficulties are not quite so great where electric current is available. Farmers whose houses are lighted with electricity may enjoy the luxury of a hot bath without much trouble if they provide themselves with electric heaters. One of the simplest electric heaters in the market is that shown in the accompanying picture.

Three carbon electrodes, in the form of rectangular plates, are bolted together in a parallel position, about three quarters of an inch apart, by means of an insulated bolt. They are suspended by conducting rods from an insulating bar and have at their upper ends connecting posts, to which the electric wires are attached.

If the carbon plates are submerged in the water and the electric current is turned on, the water in the bath-tub will quickly he heated. If one of the two outer electrodes is cut out, the intensity of the current will be reduced to fifty per cent; if the middle electrode is disconnected, to thirty per cent of its initial power. With a current of 220 colts and from 20 to 34 amperes, 250 quarts of water may be heated to bath temperature in about an hour.

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