By Lance McCarthy
So last week I tried to do a good job of making you feel like your house just didn’t measure up. Isn’t that what businesses are supposed to do around the holidays? Tell you what’s wrong with the things you have?
Today, we pause for the holiday of Giving Thanks and mention 10 things I’m sure you have in your house that we don’t want to take for granted (at least for one day). Things that you have now that house-living people haven’t always had. Things we now consider necessities:
- Air conditioning This one isn’t so old actually. It was invented in 1902 as a way to get rid of humidity in printing presses so that the newspapers would look better. Sounds weird, I know. But it worked so well that it quickly spread until pretty soon it was in houses too.
- Glass windows They used to be made from paper to let a little light in. Then flattened animal horn (I’m not even sure what that is). Glass became common in the early 17th century in England.
- Indoor plumbing Evidently the ancient Egyptians developed copper pipes to build indoor bathrooms in pyramids. Unfortunately, even In the 18th century, we were using actual pots in our rooms and then dumping the waste in the streets. (So many jokes, so little time). Only in the last 150 years do we actually send it through pipes to some stinky place far from our house.
- Electricity Ok, electricity wasn’t invented, but it was harnessed. Most people think Edison invented the light bulb. This isn’t actually true. But he was one of the guys who put electricity in houses. His first project gave 85 customers in Manhattan power for 400 light bulbs.
- Microwave This was “invented” by accident in 1939 when a radar scientist noticed his candy bar melted in his pocket when he stood too close to an active radar set. Hmm. Could be something going on there. The first food he intentionally heated was popcorn. So I guess we haven’t really come that far after all.
- Granite countertops This one was a trick. Granite wasn’t invented, it comes from the ground.
- Netflix This was invented by a former math teacher and another guy who got angry when he had to pay $40 in overdue video rental fees. (Could have been me). He actually went to Blockbuster with the proposition and they turned him down. The irony.
- Central heating This has been around quite a while actually. And in many forms. Some of you are probably in 100 year old houses that still have the remains of an old furnace and a coal chute in the basement where the coal dude would come by in the morning and shovel coal into the basement.
- Mattress These wonderful little inventions started as bags of hay or feathers in Roman times (and my grandma’s house) and then to coil spring in 1865, then innerspring in the ‘30s, then foam rubber in the ‘50s. And now we can just choose our “number”.
- The house Of course the house itself is pretty cool to have. It could be a tent, or a cave, or an apartment in the city. But no, it is a house. With a roof, and rooms, and a yard for our dogs to dig holes in. Pretty cool.
All in all, not too bad. Should you still remodel the bathroom to give yourself a heated floor and some more shower heads? Absolutely. But today, we can appreciate what we have.
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