Week 15: Carriage warmer

What is this? When was it used?

Why is there a drawer on the side?

Was this based on an earlier invention? Did it inspire future inventions?

Carraige warmer

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Answers:

What is this? When was it made?

This artifact is a foot-warmer for a carriage, sometimes called a "carriage heater" or "buggy warmer." This one was made around 1870 in Pana, Illinois. It is mostly made out of metal, and it has a carpeted covering.

Why is there a drawer on the side?

The drawer in the side would hold either hot coals or a brick heated at home in the fireplace. Carriage heaters like this were a common feature in private carriages as well as those used for business like the Post Office. Despite the carpeted covering, it was not uncommon for a heater like this to work smoothly for a decade or more.

Was this based on an earlier invention? Did it inspire future inventions?

The design behind this artifact was used for heaters in carriages, buggies, and train compartments from the 17th century to the 19th century. So it took its inspiration from the past, but soon the invention of the automobile would give people new heat-producing systems to take advantage of. In the 1930s, car makers started using the engine's cooling system to heat the passenger compartment.

Here it is with the drawer open:

Carraige heaater with drawer open