A few years ago we tried to introduce an orange squeezer designed to hang on the wall and operate somewhat on the principle of a pencil sharpener. We showed it to our houseman who regarded it glumly. “I’ll try to use it if you insist,” he finally said, “but I can work faster with that glass one from the ten cent store.” These little playthings are all right but you can seldom get the help to use them. A kitchen should be well equipped with standard implements and cooking utensils, but before putting in expensive labor-saving devices one should be sure that they really save work and that the proposed operator will appreciate them enough to make their purchase advisable.
The essentials of a kitchen are plenty of light and air; enough space for working under all conditions; well arranged and adequate equipment; pleasing, easily cleaned wall surfaces and floor; and plenty of hot water. There are several methods of obtaining an adequate supply of the latter. It is automatically taken care of where the house is heated by an oil burning system. With a coal burning steam or hot water plant, there is now a cylinder that can be attached to the boiler below the water level. In it there is a coil of copper pipe through which circulates the domestic hot water supply. This works admirably. There is always a sufficient supply but it is never so overheated as to scald the heedless person who plunges a hand under a boiling stream of water.
During the warm months, however, a supplementary means of heating water must be at hand. Electric water heating, again, involves the least supervision and is to be recommended if one can get a low enough rate. The initial expense is a sizable item, though; and if operated at the usual rate per kilowatt hour, the monthly charge can easily be double that of other fuels. But many companies make a special rate for such devices and under such circumstances the operating costs compare favorably with those of coal and oil.
Another excellent device is the little coal stove built especially for the purpose. It requires only a small amount of fuel daily but, of course, must be faithfully tended. This type of stove may also be adapted for burning range oil. Here the drudgery of shoveling in coal and taking out ashes is replaced by that of daily filling the two-gallon oil tank that feeds it, periodic cleaning of wicks and burners, and consistent adjusting of burner and draft to meet changing weather conditions.
There are also the kerosene oil heaters having a copper coil through which the water circulates in heating. These may or may not be equipped with an automatic attachment. They likewise require daily filling and occasional cleaning of both wick and copper coil. They are easier to adjust than the other variety but the action of the blue flame on the copper coil causes a slight disintegration which over a long period of time may cause a leak. When that happens no mending