Electric blanket keeps the bed warm
This column originally ran Jan. 28, 2009. Enjoy this oldie-but-goodie while Carol is out sick.
One of the most wonderful inventions is the electric blanket. Do you have one? Is there anything like climbing into bed and having it all warm and toasty? In “our old house” we don’t have heat in all of the rooms and one of them is my bedroom. I’m not complaining. I like a cool room to sleep in and in fact more than cool, just plain cold. So an electric blanket is a must.
Before they were invented I used to go to bed bundled up like an Eskimo. We had soapstones that came up from the farm that were used to warm beds and take in the buggy and car (before heaters) to keep your feet warm. I would heat it up each night before going to bed. I would put it on the ledge of the coal burning furnace where you shoved the coal in. Then I had a warm bag with a drawstring that my mom had made. I would put it in the bag and take it to bed with me at my feet. That answered the purpose until electric blankets came out.
For those who don’t know what a soapstone is, I can only say it was made in a rectangular shape and had a handle drilled in the stone to carry it. The stone was gray and kept the heat all night long. Sometimes I would get it too warm and the bag would smell a little scorched, but I never had a fire with it, thank you. Hot water bottles didn’t do the trick because they wouldn’t stay warm all that long and there isn’t anything worse than a cold water bottle.
Grandmother used to come upstairs sometimes with her long-handled bedwarmer full of hot coals, which she would slip into the bed underneath the covers and warm the entire bed. This was a better way of warming the bed as you could slip it around the entire bed, while a soapstone or hotwater bottle only warmed one spot. The bedwarmer was only used on “below-zero” nights or maybe if you were sick with a cold. Grandma would take pity.
The first electric blanket I had was a Westinghouse and I can remember I thought it was quite a luxury. It was thick and heavy but it worked just fine. After it gave out I had several others until my last purchase, which was just as expensive, but when I got home, opened it up and put it on the bed it was as thin as a bedsheet. I thought it was a new version and didn’t exactly appreciate that it didn’t have the weight that my old one had, but I kept it. It was the newer model that because of all the fires on beds with blankets that had been left on all day, or something, this new blanket didn’t turn on until you got into the bed. In other words you couldn’t turn it on a half or whole hour before retiring and have a warm bed. That was strike one. Secondly, it didn’t get really warm and it didn’t warm the whole bed. At first I didn’t quite notice and when I finally did, it was too late to return it.
I “lived” with it for several years, until I began to realize it wasn’t working on the bottom of the bed. Time for a new blanket. I have a new one that has all of the features that my very first blanket did. The plush blanket is warm and soft and heats the bed faster. In fact, I believe there is a feature whereby you can program it and the blanket turns itself on, but do I know how to do that? I’m not electrical or computer-minded and I don’t even try to figure it out.
The soapstone hangs on the wall in the basement. Some folks in the country used bricks, I now remember, but I have a warm bed to sleep in and that is one of the pleasures in life. Mom used to tell about when she lived in the north country. Their bedrooms were so cold that water would freeze in the glasses at night. They would go downstairs in the morning and dress by the living room stove and also dress there at night for bed. That was in the days when there weren’t furnaces in houses and the living room stove and old black kitchen stove were the means of heating the house.
Weren’t those the “good ole” days?