458 Meylert St Laporte PA 18626
TOURING SULLIVAN COUNTY’S MUSEUM
. . . while dusting
1886 Calendar from the Bernice Coal Company
Since it is cold, we thought you might appreciate a subject reflecting not only our temperatures but also one of our past industries. On the back of the calendar picture featured with this article it states: “Bernice Coal. For baseburning stoves it is especially adapted, it requires less draft while burning than other Anthracite Coals. The following directions for burning – to be varied as the drafts in chimneys vary – have been found to be useful to those burning BERNICE COAL for the first time: For cooking and heating stoves use less kindling than usual for harder coals, and about two-thirds the usual quantity of coal. When fully ignited, which it will be in a few minutes, close the draft, the coal will continue to burn and heat your stove and oven as much as other coal with the draft open. You are thus plainly economizing and saving heat and fuel, consuming all the carbonic gases instead of their being wasted and carried off in the chimney. When you wish to keep your fire and save it for future use, put on a small quantity of fresh coal, keep the draft closed, and in addition, partly remove the covers of your stove. Your fire will thus keep alive and consume but little coal. When desired for use, add a little fresh coal, slightly dropping the ashes, replace the covers, open the draft and short time just to enliven the fire, then close the draft as before, and you will have just the fire you want. At night, shut off your draft, and put on the smaller coal. The fine goal is as good as the larger sizes. Bernice [coal] will do all that it claimed for it. It is a free-burning, pure coal, without clinkers, and is rapidly making a high reputation with good judges of coal.”
Did you get all that? If you use a coal, or wood, stove you’ll understand the language and the meaning of this description of how to best utilize a cook stove. If you don’t, it probably sounds like a lot of work and diligence. Well, you do need to be diligent. After all we’re talking about fire within your home. And this writing on the back of a calendar could act as a reminder for a newcomer to burning coal but any good housewife worth her salt would know all this instinctively. Also, eventually the caretaking of a cook stove becomes second nature before the turn of one winter’s season. If you’ve ever walked into a home with a cook stove, you can appreciate the efforts made to maintain it and the comfort derived from it.
We can only hope that in the dregs of this winter season, that this writing has, if not brought back memories, warmed you up a bit.
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The Sullivan County PA Historical Society and Museum is a registered 501(c)(3).