39. Cozy Covers

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There is a short supply of oil in the world today. this shortage has caused changes in the way we all live. For example, over 45 million American homes now use electric blankets for sleeping at night. The cost of using an electric blanket is small. On a medium setting the cost is no more than half a cent for all night.

Few people know that an electric blanket does not heat you up at night. The truth is that the blanket stops the loss of body heat. The blanket provides a warm layer of air which keeps the heat in. The body itself does most of the work.

However, life was not always so cozy beneath the covers. People once shivered as they slept. To keep warm, early man used animal hides and campfires. Later on, fireplaces and wool blankets were used. Around 1600 another improvement came onto the scene. This aid was the warming pan. Hot coals were put into a shallow pan, and the pan was moved around under the covers to warm the bed. Still later someone invented the feather-filled comforter. This new kind of blanket used the body heat to warm the bed.

But the first real breakthrough came when boilers were brought into the home in the 19th century. Radiators were used to heat each room. This also meant that the heat for the entire home could be controlled. Quite a welcomed improvement.

Then, in the late 1800s, electric blankets came on the scene. They arrived just after the boilers. But these early blankets were not meant to give comfort to the user. Rather, they were part of medical treatment. At that time, doctors felt that the more painful the cure, the better it was for the patient. Electric blankets were used to make the patient sweat. Sweating rid the body of germs.

Hospitals, then were among the first to use the new blankets. Sometimes patients had to sleep outdoors on porches. The blankets were used to protect them from cold and snow. There is no record of the number of patients who survived this treatment. But in this case the cure was probably more uncomfortable than the illness.

Electric blankets now come in all sizes. They are light, warm and easy to keep clean. Today they are sold in large quantities. It seems we’ve come a long way since buffalo hides and warming pans. So, let’s hear it for modern inventions that make life more comfortable.

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