Better Living Through Electricity

I notice that today marks the anniversary of the introduction of the electric blanket in 1946. It sold for $39.50.  I suppose that was quite a bit of money for that time. My parents talked about the wonders of rural electrification in the 30’s and 40’s, and how that was such a help for them and their families. I remember that my mother bought an electric blanket in the 1960’s, and what a weird thing it was, with this plastic polyester fabric that had these hard tube-like things inserted in it, and a thermostat that hung out of the edge of it.  I suppose it made sense if the gas you paid to fire your furnace cost more than the electricity that came our of your outlets.

We rely heavily on our weird Swedish mixer for kneading our bread, our Breville food processor for chopping everything imaginable, and our Chinese grinder for coffee and spices.  I suppose that electric blankets were ousted by down comforters for economy and convenience.  We use our down comforter all year.

We are expecting a major winter storm in the next day or two, and I have made sure the remote starter for our gas stove in the basement is operational in case we lose power and I need to heat the house.

What electric appliances do you rely on? How do you keep warm?

33 thoughts on “Better Living Through Electricity”

  1. Good topic this morning because I am currently reading The Last Days of Night, a historical fiction about the great battle between Edison. Westinghouse, and Tesla at the birth of the electrical light bulb.

    We have gas heat and water heater and stove but almost everything else is electric. In the summer I think the thing I miss the most if the electricity goes out are the ceiling fans.

    Right now my electrical problem is that we got a new modem couple of weeks ago and it is much brighter than before. It’s not actually keeping me awake but it does kind of bother me how much light it puts out all night long. So my goal for this weekend is to construct a black paper covering to put over it so that the lights don’t leak out in the hall and into my bedroom.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just fired up my pc at work and found this in my inbox, from today’s Writer’s Almanac – electricity and bees!!

    Sex Education
    by Linda Pastan

    When a bee enters the plant’s electric field, a small electric
    charge develops …
    —Eartheasy blog

    I remember what happened the day we met.
    Electricity, they call it, a spark

    like the one that went from God’s finger
    to Adam’s in the Sistine Chapel.

    I always thought it was a metaphor,
    but now I read that bees are led to pollen

    by a flower’s electric force field,
    not just by seductive reds and purples.

    I remember how you looked at me,
    how I looked back.

    And spreading through my limbs
    a sweetness, like honey.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I suspect electric appliances over the years have become such integral parts of most American households that we no longer stop to think about how much we rely on them. They are instrumental in keeping our houses heated and cooled, our food stored, prepared, and cooked, as well as our personal hygiene. Everything from refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers, blenders, mixers, and food processors, to can openers and toothbrushes, computers and telephones, not to mention vacuum cleaners, clothes washers and dryers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, heaters and air conditioners runs on electricity. A major power outage is an inconvenient reminder of how dependent we have all become on electricity. A classic case of “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

    That said, I’ve never owned an electric blanket. I grew up with a down comforter, and that is much my preferred method of keeping warm in bed, that and a couple of furry friends snuggled close.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. We won’t get as much snow as the central and eastern part of the state, but Husband will be stay on the rez an extra night until Friday since it will be too treacherous to drive home tomorrow night. We rarely lose electrical power here, but I am prepared of we do.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The ones I’m most aware of (and grateful for) are the washing machine, hair dryer, and my little cup warmer by my reading chair. (Like VS, we have gas for the stove, etc.) And lamps all over the place, even the kitchen – I don’t like overhead lighting much.

    Only time I’ve had an electric blanket was in the cold air dorm in college, which I’ve mentioned before. I find that I love a down comforter when I first get in bed, but then get too warm once the bed warms up. So I do layers of blankets, waiting for the Real Cold weather before I bring out the wool ones.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I am sitting here drinking a cup of good coffee. I wondered who invented the espresso machine. It was a guy in Turin , Italy in 1884, and it was steam powered , not electric. His diagrams are fascinating.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I just read that PG&E in Northern California is turning of electricity because of wildfire/high winds in several counties, including Mendocino where step-son’s family lives – possibly till Friday. Imagine two days without your electricity.
    Good that you’ve got some back-up, Renee.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Hi-
    Everything on our farm is electric; we don’t have propane or gas anything. We have a back up generator, tractor driven (from back in the days we needed it for running feed bunks and silo’s and milking cows.) It’s overkill for running the house but it’s still a generator so I’m not complaining.
    What we did learn is that the heat is not hooked too it. We have two separate meters in order to pay a lower amount for electricity used for heating and the water heater. So if we ever have a multi-day power outage, I’ll be swapping some wires down at the electrical boxes to get us some heat.
    No fireplace, but we have a sort of large radiant heater that stores heat and keeps at least one end of the house warm… for a day or two…

    The simple act of flipping on a light is so taken for granted. Microwave, laptop to charge, running water (since we have a well I need electricity for that) and even the light in the freezer is pretty nice these days.

    Course my whole career as a lighting designer would be different if we were still using gas lights or limestone! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  9. To understand one’s own culture it is useful to consider how it is viewed by folks from other cultures. I’ve made a minor study of this. Three particular US habits strike outsiders as bizarre. The first is our obsession with cold beverages . . . all those ice cubes! Second (and I suppose this is really first) is our extreme dependence on automobiles. A European house guest never tired of telling me we used autos far more than was sensible.

    Third–and most relevant here–is the way we use electricity to dry clothes. Many other developed countries rely on washing machines to launder clothing, but they are likely to dry laundry on clotheslines instead of dryers. Clotheslines aren’t even allowed in some US communities because they are considered unsightly. I’m old enough to remember how laundry smelled after being hung out to dry.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Weather permitting, we still dry our clothes on our backyard clothesline. Despite my arthritic hands, I still use a manual can opener. In fact, I’ve never owned an electric one.

      Whenever we go up to Will Steger’s homestead, we’re reminded of never taking electricity or running water for granted. It’s amazing how that changes your behavior in a hurry.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Because of my RA, I bought an electric can opener. It worked beautifully, except it couldn’t open a can. The cutting wheel wasn’t biting deeply enough or something. I thought a powered can opener that can’t open cans must be a metaphor for something, but haven’t figured out what.

        Liked by 3 people

  10. Read an article just a few weeks ago in a lighting magazine that the concept of wireless electricity isn’t dead yet. There are some experiments happening on those fronts. Nikola Tesla would be so pleased!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I have forsworn dryer sheets, and our clothes are full of static electricity when I take them out of the dryer, but at least I have reduced a small amount of unnecessary chemicals in the house.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My mom made us some ‘dryer balls ‘ of wool. Google it. You can buy or make them.
      They do work – not quite as well as dryer sheets, but it should be helpful.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. Uhh, don’t you hate that? I have had a few of those things for Edith, too. In fact one day I was thinking we should do a post about everything we want her to know here on the Trail. She would like that.

      I miss her.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. I’ve got a picture of her on my computer in a program that plays a slideshow of different images. I have a photo she took beside me when I’m at the computer, a metal print of a waterfall that Edith shot. I miss her.

          Liked by 4 people

  12. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Today at PT (which explains my absence up to this point today. I had to take a pain pill for PT, then I had to sleep it off) my knee was iced after the treatment with an electric cooler. It looks like a vacuum with a hose, then has a big black velcroed thing that wraps around my knee. Then it blows 33 degree air around the entire knee for 15 minutes for a super-cooling experience. It really reduces inflammation quickly. The knee always hurts after treatment because the PT, who is excellent, is working to straighten the leg in one direction and bend it in the other. I have to be able to straighten it to 1 degree and bend it to 90 degrees. Well today was a big day–I could straighten it to 1 degree and it bent to 91 degrees! This is day 21 out of surgery, so it was a victory to be sure.

    All the electric gizmos in that PT room help people regain function: treadmills with inflatable things that hold people up, bikes, massagers, coolers, and on and on.

    At home the electric device I worry about is always my freeze–I don’t want to lose my preserved and stored food.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. I have a gas stove, but I really like some of my electric cooking appliances, especially my crockpot and my rice cooker. It’s hard to overcook your dinner if you’re using a crockpot, if you have used an adequate amount of liquid. A rice cooker will cook to perfection and then switch to “keep warm”. Both are tailor made for lazy cooks like me.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I remember what happened the day we met. Electricity, they call it, a spark. I have forsworn dryer sheets, and our clothes are full of static electricity when I take them out of the dryer, but at least I have reduced a small number of unnecessary chemicals in the house.


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