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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 10 (January 2, 1939)

Electric Comfort

Electric Comfort.

Sally blinked her eyes as James clicked on the bedside lamp and glanced at the clock below it. She heard him switch on the current to heat the water in the teapot (part of the same bedside fitment), and drifted into dreams again. The exaggerated rattling of a teaspoon close to her ear roused her.

“Oh, James, I don't want to wake up.”

“Lazy-bones! Here's your tea. Say thank-you.”

“Oh, I do! Ummm! I'm really waking up now. Isn't it a lovely present, Jimmy? I love the clock just under the light, and that rectangular tea-pot is cute. Pass me a biscuit.”

Presently, after a hurried shower, James called Sally to her bath while he came back into the bedroom to wield his electric shaver. “Nice work!” he murmured as he caressed his chin.

Breakfast was easy. James attended to the electric toaster while Sally, at the electric cooker, prepared bacon and eggs. The latter dish, covered, waited on the electric plate-warmer while the two young people dealt with grapefruit and cereal.

The coffee, meantime, had been bubbling in a glass percolater beside them. When it was the right colour, Sally served it, pouring it from the lower portion which was shaped like a jug. Milk for the coffee had been warmed at the table by means of an immersion heater suitable for any kind of liquid. And when James switched off he didn't go fumbling about the skirting-board, but reached out his hand to a plug panel at a sensible level.

James helped Sally with bed-making and then set off for the office. Sally put the milk and butter in the refrigerator at the same time checking up on the egg supply in the special containers, page 58 placed the rest of the food in the larder, and piled the dirty dishes in a tray with wire mesh bottom. The tray she slid into the dish-washing machine. When the switch was turned on, strong, moving jets of very hot water played on the dishes from above and below. In 1 1/2 minutes the dishes were clean, as Sally could see through the transparent window in front. She switched on the rinsing spray and in another half minute switched off and slid the tray out on to the bench. The dishes were so hot that they would have dried of their own accord, but Sally preferred to rub them over with a tea-towel.

A quick run over the bedroom and diningroom carpets with the vacuum cleaner, quick dusting and re-arrangement of flowers, and, forty minutes after James's departure, Sally was ready to put on her hat and leave for the advertising studio where she worked.

Immediately on arrival she ‘phoned a few household orders, and then forgot about domesticity completely (except for a brief interval when she met James for lunch) until 5 p.m.

She was home by 5.20, switched on the electric oven immediately, changed, slipped a roast into the oven, and set to work, quite leisurely, to prepare vegetables and a sweet.

The table set, she had time to think of the friends who were coming for the evening. They would start with a fruit-juice cocktail, which she must cool in the “frig.” Later she would toast sandwiches on the electric sandwich toaster. There would be coffee and the home-made cakes she had bought. Tasty enough!

Meanwhile dinner at seven. And afterwards she must press her frock. She had been a lot more confident with silk things since buying the new iron with the labelled heat controller.

It sounds a breathless day, but things really went smoothly without worry, owing to the efficiency of electrical helps. Her advertising job was so interesting that Sally didn't want to give it up, yet, when she did, there would be no need for Mrs. Tasker to come in twice a week to clean. The laundry also could be dispensed with if she bought a washing machine. At an electrical display she had been very interested in an electric drying cupboard with bars for clothes and a permanent current of warm air. That was fine for flat-dwellers, but she had the garden. Another electric contrivance which she coveted, but didn't need in a roomy house, was a table cooker, containing a rectangular dish for a roast, and two smaller dishes for vegetables or pudding; alternatively, these receptacles could be lifted out and a pie or cake baked on the grid.

She must tell Sybil about it, and about the electric hair-drier fixed to a stand so that both hands are left free. She had also been interested in an electric engine-warmer which some car-owner would appreciate.

Dinner was almost ready, and here was James, holding something rather bulky behind his back.

“Present for a good girl,” he called. “Have we plenty of maple syrup?”

“You greedy thing!” said Sally, as she unpacked a waffle iron. “It's just as well electricity is inexpensive.

* * *

The Small House.

The British Institute of Architects has been holding an exhibiton which offers solutions to problems of small house construction. Problems are:—

Necessity for close settlement owing to high price of land.

Access to main roads.

Ensuring privacy.

Aspect (chiefly in relation to sun).

Photographs, English and European, show how leading architects and planners have tackled these problems.

On a slope, houses may be built in terraces. Each house has a view over the one below it. Terraces are parallel or at right angles to the road, or are free-planned in relation to it. The method is economical in construction and in land coverage.

Another terrace system is planned at right angles to the main road which is screened by hedges and trees. Access is by small footpaths.

The cul-de-sac method is successful. Houses are grouped round communal parkland from which there is a safe outlet to the main road.

If houses must be built along a busy road, they should, if possible, be screened by trees.

A very interesting diagram gives the ideal aspect for different types of rooms. I will translate it for use in the southern hemisphere.

Larder and stores.—No sun. S.

Kitchen.—Early sun. S.E.

Bathroom.—Early sun. N.E.

Diningroom.—Morning sun. N.

Bedr. and sleeping porch.—Morning sun. N.

Study.—Afternoon sun. N.W., W.

Living r. and covered terrace.—Morning and afternoon sun. N.W., W.

Excellent preliminary plans for rectangular and L-shaped houses placed room accommodation according to the foregoing table.

The keynotes of photographs of interiors were simplicity and fitness. Much attention was paid to the extension of the house into the garden, where, by the way, it was suggested that existing trees be retained if possible. One living-room was separated from the garden by large, sliding windows. If there is no verandah outside the living-room, an area of garden may be paved and an awning stretched over it.

In the small flat, the dining-table may be pushed up against a wall-slide, giving direct access to the kitchen.

Central heating gives rise to the radiator problem. A wall which is nearly all sliding windows may have a window seat covering the radiator along its length.

Bedrooms have built-in cupboards deep enough for coat-hangers. Cupboard doors have no awkward mouldings or ledges to catch dust. Beds are placed so as not to face the light.

Inset shelves over bath and basin are of great utility.

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