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Hot Water

Exactly one week ago, at 2 am, I came out of my writing cave after a few hours of solid writing to take a break, and investigate a strange sound coming out of the store room (which is right across the hall from my home office).

I stepped into an inch-deep pool of rusty warm water that was all over the store room floor. That strange sound was coming from our 26-year-old water heater. No groans or wheezing, just an odd, quiet whirring and clicking noise. Then, nothing, as the water heater died a noble appliance death.

Thankfully, everything in the store room is kept up off the ground, and in plastic tubs, so it was a matter of squeegee-ing the water towards the drain in the middle of the room. It could have been a lot worse, had I not been up late into the night working on the book.

In doing the research for the new water heater (arriving later today; to be installed by plumbers arriving at 6 am tomorrow — no lie), I couldn’t find a warranty for more than six years!  WTH?

So, of course, I was compelled to think about water heaters from the turn of the last century. I’ve found some interesting models:

A water heater with a heart! Source:

A water heater with a heart!  This one dates from 1900. Source:

And this:

A space-age looking water heater. Source:

A space-age looking water heater from about 1904. What’s nice to see is that the manufacturer, Ruud, is still in business. Source:

They had some rugged looking water heaters back in the day. No planned obsolescence here. I don’t know if warranties were offered back in the day for these water heaters, but the information on the Humphrey model, below, said some were still working/in use 80 years later. 

The Humphrey hot water heater. This model is from 1920. Source:

The Humphrey hot water heater. This model is from 1920. Source:


Categories: Interesting & Odd The Writing Life

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Communication, Arts, and the Humanities
The University of Maryland Global Campus

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