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Home Fires: How Americans Kept Warm in the Nineteenth Century

Sean Patrick Adams
Format
Book
Published
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014.
Language
English
Series
How Things Worked
ISBN
9781421413563 (hardcover : acid-free paper), 1421413566 (hardcover : acid-free paper), 9781421413570 (paperback : acid-free paper), 1421413574 (paperback : acid-free paper), 9781421413587 (electronic), 1421413582 (electronic)
Summary
"Home Fires tells the fascinating story of how changes in home heating over the nineteenth century spurred the growth of networks that helped remake American society. Sean Patrick Adams reconstructs the ways in which the "industrial hearth" appeared in American cities, the methods that entrepreneurs in home heating markets used to convince consumers that their product designs and fuel choices were superior, and how elite, middle-class, and poor Americans responded to these overtures. Adams depicts the problem of dwindling supplies of firewood and the search for alternatives; the hazards of cutting, digging, and drilling in the name of home heating; the trouble and expense of moving materials from place to place; the rise of steam power; the growth of an industrial economy; and economic efficiency questions, both at the individual household and regional levels. Home Fires makes it clear that debates over energy sources, energy policy, and company profit margins have been around a long time. The challenge of staying warm in the industrializing North becomes a window into the complex world of energy transitions, economic change, and emerging consumerism. Readers will understand the struggles of urban families as they sought to adapt to the ever-changing nineteenth-century industrial landscape. This perspective allows for a unique view of the development of an industrial society not just from the ground up but from the hearth up"--
"Using the challenge of staying warm in the industrializing North as a window into the complex world of energy transitions, economic change, and emerging consumerism, Sean Patrick Adams presents the development of new home heating methods in order to trace connections between structural transformations in the American economy and the experience of average Americans at home. How, in fact, did Country and Hearth negotiate this industrial makeover? Home Fires, the inaugural publication in the new series How Things Worked, lets students see how. Though seemingly simple, the question of home heating prods students to think about natural resources (first wood, then, coal, then oil), logistics, and evolving business practices. Adams depicts the problem of dwindling supplies of firewood and the search for alternatives; the hazards of cutting, digging, and drilling in the name of home heating; the trouble and expense of moving materials from place to place; changing technological means, chiefly the rise of steam power; the rise of an industrial economy; and economic questions, both household and macro. It becomes increasingly clear that debates over energy sources, energy policy, and company profit margins have been around a long time"--
Contents
  • How the Industrial Economy Made the Stove
  • How Mineral Heat Came to American Cities
  • How the Coal Trade Made Heat Cheap
  • How the Industrial Hearth Defied Control
  • How Steam Heat Found its Limits.
Description
x, 183 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Notes
Includes bibliographical references (pages 175-177) and index.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic
  • Staff View

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    a| "Home Fires tells the fascinating story of how changes in home heating over the nineteenth century spurred the growth of networks that helped remake American society. Sean Patrick Adams reconstructs the ways in which the "industrial hearth" appeared in American cities, the methods that entrepreneurs in home heating markets used to convince consumers that their product designs and fuel choices were superior, and how elite, middle-class, and poor Americans responded to these overtures. Adams depicts the problem of dwindling supplies of firewood and the search for alternatives; the hazards of cutting, digging, and drilling in the name of home heating; the trouble and expense of moving materials from place to place; the rise of steam power; the growth of an industrial economy; and economic efficiency questions, both at the individual household and regional levels. Home Fires makes it clear that debates over energy sources, energy policy, and company profit margins have been around a long time. The challenge of staying warm in the industrializing North becomes a window into the complex world of energy transitions, economic change, and emerging consumerism. Readers will understand the struggles of urban families as they sought to adapt to the ever-changing nineteenth-century industrial landscape. This perspective allows for a unique view of the development of an industrial society not just from the ground up but from the hearth up"-- c| Provided by publisher.
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    650
      
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    a| Dwellings x| Heating and ventilation z| United States x| History y| 19th century.
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    a| Heating x| Social aspects z| United States x| History y| 19th century.
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    a| Social change z| United States x| History y| 19th century.
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    a| City and town life z| United States x| History y| 19th century.
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    a| Industrialization x| Social aspects z| United States x| History y| 19th century.
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    a| United States x| Social conditions y| 19th century.
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    a| United States x| Social life and customs y| 19th century.
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    a| United States x| Economic conditions y| 19th century.
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    a| How things worked.
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