Men and heating the home

God placed the inner instinct in man to want to heat his home and keep his female companion comfortably warm.  It was because of this desire that man first tamed fire.  When this took place, man was happy.  His instinct was for the most part satisfied, as he toiled all day gathering and chopping materials necessary to keep the fire buring, and keep his wife  warm and happy.  There was a problem however though.  Although his wife was warm outside, she was still chilly *inside* the home….back to the drawing board!

Man solved this problem by inventing the fireplace.  Now he could have a warm and happy wife indoors.  The fireplace served humanity for hundreds of years and satisfied man’s internal desire to keep their wives and families warm and cozy.  Man enjoyed chopping the wood and getting the fire just right using the poker stick and the tong things to make it look just like those Christmas cards….and when the fire was out, there was all sorts of ashes left over that made good fertilizer for the summer crops.

But then along came Benjamin Franklin.  He was an inventive man who was just not satisfied with an ordinary fireplace .  So, he invented the wood stove.  The wood stove not only gave out more heat, but gave men all sorts of additional things in an attempt to satisfy their insatiable desire tweak and tune things to make the fire just right for their wives and families.  Franklin’s wood stove had dampers and vents and all sorts of adjustments to make the fire burn just right.  No man could keep their hands off these adjustments, as they wanted their fire just right and perfect for their families.

It was not long after Franklin invented the wood stove that another fuel was discovered.  Coal!  Coal became one of man’s most enjoyable fuel for almost a century.  Coal gave out more heat per pound than wood.  Although it did not need to be chopped and sawed, it did need to be mined, and many men eagerly stepped up to this task! Aren’t men odd…they call something coal that gets hot!  Coal burned wonderfully in Franklin’s stove, but it burned so well, not much work needed to be done poking and prodding the coal or shifting it around like one needed to do in a wood stove.  This started leaving men a bit unappreciated because part of their duties were taken away.

That was when a man by the name of James Watt stepped up to the game.  He invented a machine called the steam engine…the perfect complement to coal!  The steam engine started with basically a Franklin stove, but with a big tank of water over it that boiled just like his wife’s tea kettle.  Only this time, he figured out a way to do all sorts of stuff with that steam other than give his wife a warm beverage.  Heating the home was one of them.  Many homes began to get these boilers Watt invented, and men were happy once again!  Boilers made steam that would go all throughout the house and heat radiators in every room.  Men were happy with this because the radiators and all the pipes and valves associated with them required all sorts of tweaking and tuning and balancing and adjusting.  Women were happy because the whole house could stay at the same temperature, a radiator system kept a man happy all winter because it satisfied a man’s insatiable desire to keep a home perfectly warm for his family.

Men spent many, many hours in the basement tweaking, tinkering and tuning the boiler.  Other members of the household didn’t dare go down and mess with the intimating machinery.  It was good enough for them to just listen upstairs to the bumping and banging of their fearless man as he tamed the huge fire-breathing beast down there in the basement.  The man, done for the evening, would come up covered in black dust smelling of fire and sweat….a scent that has turned on women for centuries and is now bottled for sale at local department stores.   For some lesser men however, a coal fired boiler may have just a little bit too much for them.  So for these men, instead of keeping their boiler maintained themselves, they called on other really manly men that couldn’t get their instincts satisfied keeping their own heating systems going, but chose to also take on working on the systems that others had and make a little money doing it.  These burly manly men also kept the widows and the orphans warm during winters too making sure their boilers were always burning, and their homes warm.

But then came oil….a slippery black substance that bubbled up from the ground, and it was all a slippery slide downhill for men after that.  It was found that not only was the stuff slippery, but it also burned good.  Oil was refined into gasoline and all sorts of stuff, but it also became the way to heat the home.  Oil however became too easy.  There was nothing to shovel, no dampers to tweak, and the system could be switched on and off by YIKES!  the wife and kids!  What is a man to do!  Well, that’s when man invented the automobile which also used oil.  The automobile satisfied man’s desire to tweak and tune something.  Even though the automobile didn’t keep the house warm, it did keep his wife and family warm as they got around town…that was good enough!

Everything was fine in the middle of the 20th century with this relationship.  Oil furnaces still needed filters and nozzles changed, lines bled and all sorts of stuff that could keep a man happy when the automobile was not needing any work.  Then a few things happened.  The government said we could not tweak and tinker with our cars anymore, and we had to get them inspected to make sure we were not tweaking and tinkering with them.  About that time too came an invisible material that literally stunk…natural gas!

Men had a real problem on their hands now.  They couldn’t work on their cars anymore, and gas heating systems did not need much work either, so Man invented the computer.  Machines that constantly needed tweaking and tuning, but did not do much of anything, except, get this, generate HEAT from electricity that was generated with a coal-fired boiler hundreds of miles away that other men are tweaking and tuning nonetheless!  No matter what a man did with a computer, the end result was always a steady amount of heat, but computers are keeping the 21st century man happy.    With the rising price of electricity however, some men are just not happy heating their homes with gas furnaces or even computers (and the gas furnaces that have computers in them), and we have gone full circle!  Today wood stoves are just as popular as they were 300 years ago when Ben Franklin invented the first one!

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