Wednesday September 12, 2012

Editor's note: Mr. Patrick, who has lived for more than 100 years, has written a series of letters about his memories through the years. We will run them periodically.

I remember when ...

Soon after moving my family to Jamaica in 1945 and working at various jobs, I started working for John Grindlay at his combination grocery and appliance store in East Jamaica. This was at the corner of Route 30 and 100.

One of the items he sold was a Coleman floor furnace. This furnace burned kerosene in the bottom without any wick. It measured about 2 1/2-feet-square and 3-feet-high. It was topped with an iron grill flush with the floor. At that time, most of the homes in the area were heated with kitchen and living room wood burning stoves.

When one of these furnaces was sold, it was my job to truck it to the buyer's house and install it. Usually, the buyer would want it located in the living room. Having brought tools with me, I would go to the cellar and locate a place which did not interfere with electric plumbing lines. Then I would cut the proper sized hole, drop the furnace in and top it with the iron grill. Under the grill, convenient for the owner, were controls to regulate the flow of the oil.

From the furnace, I would run a copper tubing to the cellar wall where the oil delivery man could attach it to a 55-gallon fuel tank. Also, from the furnace, I would run a small diameter metal pipe to an existing chimney or through an outside wall for smoke and odor. The furnace was lit by the owner letting in a little oil and then dropping in a lighted match or scrap of paper.

I lost my job at Grindlay's when the store burned to the ground one night.

Warren S. Patrick is 101 years old. He writes from Townshend.