View Full Version : Fuel in 1930s Lehigh Valley PA?

07-07-2014, 06:41 PM
My character visits a farm there to help with summer canning. What kind of fuel will they be using in their stove?

07-07-2014, 07:29 PM
How close is the farm to town? If it borders a town they would have had a gas or electric stove. If they were very rural, they would have had a wood burning or corncob burning stove.

07-07-2014, 07:36 PM
About 10 miles from Allentown PA. But you're not thinking coal or oil even though this is Pennsylvania. That's interesting.

07-07-2014, 07:46 PM
My gram lived in a farm in lehigh valley in the 30's. She had a wood burning stove. Coal was too expensive for them. Wood my pap got for free in the woods near the house.

07-08-2014, 07:02 AM
Were there oil stoves? My grandmother, who was born in the 1890's, had a coal furnace that was later converted to oil, and a wood burning stove that was later traded in for a gas stove. I know nothing about PA specifically, but in rural Indiana they had wood stoves, and few of them once gas and electric became available. Not that I'm an expert, I am not.

07-08-2014, 07:05 AM
I had a slew of relatives working in the PA coal mines then. That was way before I was born, and I don't know if it was a fuel used by regular folks.

07-08-2014, 07:42 AM
Coal mining had made it as far west as the center of the state by 1856, but the coal they were mining wasn't for consumer use then. The only reason the mines began was to use the coal for industry. So it would have been expensive for regular people for several decades.

Summer canning would have consisted of fruit, jelly, jams, and the few veggies ripe at the time. (Asparagus & Rhubarb easily). There would have been every reason to not do this indoors. So the 'summer kitchen' would be used, an old stove on a back porch or a fire pit and a table. Most of that sort of canning is simple hot bath, so a regular old wood fire with a thick red-ember base would be needed. The more hard woods the better (they burn slower) and never a stick of cherry when it comes to food.