M u s e u m  C r e a t e d  L e s s o n

Electric Fireplace Heater and Automatic Warm Air Furnace

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HVACR Heritage Centre Canada, Cedar Valley, Ontario

Please review the learning objects below and answer the questions that follow.
Electric Fireplace Heater, designed in 1929
This 1930s historic artefact demonstrated the ingenuity of Canadian engineers to take common components and combine them into a unique portable heater.
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Automatic packaged warm air furnace, 1930s
The "winter air conditioner" was a convergence of five advanced technologies: oil burner, controls, fan, filter and humidifier.
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Part A: Turning on the Heat (a warm up)
Complete the following words and write a definition for at least 6 of them.

1) ar_e_act 2) a_sth_t_c 3) _le_t_i_ity 4) i_ _um_ _at_ng 5) h_ _r_h 6) b_ _ _ze

7) f_r_n_ce 8) _um_ _if_ _r 9) v_r_ab_e 10) _ _ll_y 11) ho_ _er 12) c_m_on_nts
Part B 1: Turning up the Heat (room heat): Electric fireplace
1. The creativity and ingenuity of Canadian engineers led to the invention of the electric fireplace heater.
* What materials were used in its construction?
* Which elements of its construction do you find most creative?

2. How does this electric fireplace heater compare to electric heaters today? You could use a diagram to help explain your response.

3. What advantages did the electric fireplace heater have over an open coal or wood fireplace, as used by Canadian pioneers? Are there any disadvantages?
Part B 2: Turning up the Heat (full blast): Warm Air Furnace
1. What are some of the key words that describe the smooth operation of the automatic packaged warm air furnace?

2. The warm air furnace operates on not just oil, but also coal and gas?
* How is this made possible ?
* Which natural resource would be most accessible to the homeowner?
* Which resource would be most cost-effective?
* How would these resources be supplied to the consumer in the 1930s?

3. How does the warm air furnace of the 1930s compare to furnaces in today’s households? Consider components controls and size. You could use a diagram to help explain your response.
Further Research
Questions ( Use websites that contain key words from the questions )
A. Prior to the inventions of the electric fireplace heater and the automatic packaged warm air furnace, life was quite different.
* What chores did these two inventions simplify or eliminate ?
* Did they create any new problems ?
* How do you think these products were marketed in the 1930’s ?

B. Electricity changed the way things were done. It was the key element for these inventions.
* How did electricity spread far and wide over the 20th century ?
* What caused the crash in the 1998 Great Ice Storm, affecting eastern Ontario, southern Quebec and the Maritimes ?
* What caused the North American northeast Blackout of 2003 ?
Answers to Part A
1. artefact (or artifact) - any object made by man
2. aesthetic - pertaining to the sense of the beautiful
3. electricity - energy transmitted to supply power
4. illuminating - supplying with light
5. hearth - the floor of a fireplace, usually made of stone or brick
6. bronze - a metal consisting of copper and tin
7. furnace - a structure in which heat may be generated, as for heating houses
8. Humidifier - a device for increasing the amount of water vapour in the air of a room or building
9. Variable - capable of being changed
10. pulley - a wheel with a grooved rim for carrying a line, as when one end of the line is pulled to raise a weight at the other end
11. hopper - a funnel-shaped bin where loose material, such as coal, is stored temporarily, being filled through the top and dispensed through the bottom
12. components - serving as elements or parts in something larger
Answers to Part B 1
1. simulated fireplace hearth, a pair of dainty fan blades, light bulbs, twin open wire-wound heating elements on porcelain cores, chunks of light reflecting amber colored glass
2. students may compare it to a heater from their home or go on a website for modern electric heaters
3. answers may vary (i.e., advantages -- no need for coal or wood supplies, less labour, just plug in; disadvantages -- expensive for its time, must have electrical outlets available)
Answers to Part B 2
1. streamlined, quiet, efficient, trouble free
2. a: different attachments (i.e., coal stocking attachment, coal fed from a hopper)
b. coal most accessible to consumers
c. coal most cost-effective for consumers
d. train, trucks
3. Students can compare it to a furnace in their own home or go on a website for modern furnaces

Learning Objectives

Part A: Turning on the Heat ( a warm up )
* Students will become familiar with vocabulary related to the Electric Fireplace Heater and the Automatic Packaged Warm Air Furnace.
Part B 1 : Turning up the Heat ( full blast ) The Electric Fireplace Heater
* Students will acquire an understanding of how different components of a heater combine to create a workable product.
* Students will appreciate changes that have been made in heaters since 1930.
* Students will acquire an understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of electric heat in the 1930’s.
Part B 2 : Turning up the Heat ( full blast ) The Automatic Packaged Warm Air Furnace
* Students will understand how different components of the warm air furnace work.
* Students will acquire an understanding of resources needed for the working of the furnace.
* Students will understand some of the changes that have occurred in furnace size and components from the 1930’s to present day.
Further Research
* Students will use research skills in order to increase their knowledge about early heating methods.
* Students will use research skills in order to discover historical events directly related to the use of electricity.