Water Heater Rescue: Know-How, Solutions, Parts graphic
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Hummingbird: Old-Fashioned

At left, a stove you have to light with a match; no pilot light. At right, linoleum countertops

Likely, in your kitchen, you have the latest appliances and countertops. Well, not everybody dances to that tune. One of the more tiresome clichés used by print journalists is, "This is not your grandfather's stove."

In this case, though, it probably IS your grandfather's stove. And it works just fine, thank you (another worn-out cliché).

Cat drinking from old-fashioned faucet

This stove has no standing pilot lights. It's far more efficient than modern-day stoves. A pilot light wastes gas except when you're using the stove.

That's not the only old-fashioned thing in the Weingarten house. There's the collection of antique water heaters in the basement, of course. And there's the wood-burning stove in the living room. That is there a little bit for heat, a lot for atmosphere. It draws its combustion air from outside the house, unlike most fireplaces, so all the oxygen in the room isn't consumed and all the heat sucked up the chimney.

Back to the kitchen though. Countertops did I say? Granite? Marble? Concrete?

How about linoleum? Yep, that's what they're made of. Now that's old-fashioned!

Let's talk a little about linoleum. Linoleum, treated well, can last nearly indefinitely. For those interested in things green, it rates highly, since it's basically made out of linseed oil and chalk dust. Larry prefers its surface because aside from being inexpensive, it doesn't steal heat from your hand when you touch it. It doesn't encourage glasses to break if you set them down too hard, and it's simple to repair or replace.

The sink is very utilitarian. It washes dishes. It waters the cats, such as Merlin, above. It's not quite big enough to bathe in, but close. And like the stove, it harks back to the 1920s.

In the sink and others in the house, are Chicago faucets, which Larry particularly likes. Many plumbers think they are the finest-made U.S. faucets. They're actually warrantied for the life of the house. And they were found as new old stock for a great bargain on eBay. How much did you pay for your fixtures?

Now, Larry asked me to put in a word of tribute to Tim McDermott, who you'll see on a ladder in the Sheetrock Party slide show, finishing that work. I asked, "Well, what did Tim do?"

Larry answered, "Tim spent three years here. He started by plastering in all the fins and making good all that was in need from the Sheetrock Party. He put up doors, built all the trim, jambs, upper and lower cabinets, countertops, tub and shower enclosures, shelving... He took my vague kitchen ideas and made them workable. Finally he acted as foreman when anybody else was on the job. Imagine letting (some of our friends) run wild! Tim kept things in check. It was nice for me as Tim is slightly more discerning than I am. I seldom saw defects or much that needed fixing. Unfortunately, I may have addled his mind. He thinks efficient construction may be worth doing for a living."

More Inside Technologies:

Wood stove drops into place, left; finished result, right
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