During winter, central heating is king. It’s hard to imagine how our ancestors survived winter without it, especially knowing that insulation was practically nonexistent for a large part of history. And although using a fireplace was common, a lot of the times that wasn’t enough since it was difficult to distribute the heat evenly and consistently.
However, our ancestors were pretty ingenuous. Let’s take a look back at the interesting ways they overcame the freezing winters.
Today, getting ready for bed includes typical rituals like brushing your teeth and turning down the covers. Back then, it meant warming up the bed. To do this, our ancestors used a bed warmer. Popular from the 17th to the 19th century, bed warmers were copper or brass pans with long handles that could be filled with heated rocks. The lid had holes to help disperse the heat from the baked rocks so when the pan was slid between two layers of bedding, the bed would be heated thoroughly. Talk about innovative!
Thick beddings and curtains
We’re all familiar with reaching for our favorite blanket when we’re feeling cold. And not much has changed from the past—climbing under cozy blankets pretty much transcends eras as the go-to method for keeping warm during winter. Similarly, thick curtains were used to help keep out the cold in bedrooms and the thicker, the better. They were often called “bed curtains” and added that extra layer of protection to vulnerable homes that didn’t have insulation.
Not to be confused with plain ol’ socks, foot warmers were an interesting contraption that was a popular method of keeping our ancestor’s feet warm during the winter. They originated from the 17th century but were still used up until the 19th century. Most were wood-framed tin boxes that held heated rocks inside. Once heated, the user would then place a blanket over the box, and either carry it with them on wagon rides or put it at the foot of their beds to keep their feet warm all night.
During the early 19th century, local insulation became a popular method of keeping warm during winter. With local insulation, a single person could keep warm via a specially designed cabinet or more popular, a chair. The chair would typically have a hooded shape which helped capture the radiant heat of the nearby fire and distribute it evenly, keeping whoever was sitting inside quite warm!
Even though we don’t have to endure the same hardships as our ancestors did, it goes without saying that winter can still be uncomfortable. It can also be made worse if you don’t have adequate insulation! Contact us today for your FREE in-home consultation to start living more comfortably.
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