Cold feet and warm dogs
Cold feet and warm dogs
In an effort to keep their feet warm, men in colonial America developed the practice of taking their dogs to local meeting houses and churches. They put a blanket over their legs and their legs under or over the dog. Both man and dog were happy. One can only imagine the havoc this must have caused, as the practice was banned altogether in the early 1700s.
Although nothing can take the place of man’s best friend, the foot warmer evolved to meet the need for warmth in the winter, as churches and meetinghouses did not have sources of heating until around 1734. The foot warmer for the foot was placed under the feet with a blanket for the feet. It can also be used in a sleigh or carriage.
As is the case with most antiquities, innovations in design give us important dating clues. The earliest leg warmers were wooden boxes. They had a door on the side holes drilled into the wood and a small metal plate inside to hold the coal. Later, die-cut sheet metal sides with decorative patterns such as hearts, circles or stars were introduced. Even heaters for two were made. They are rare today and tend to sell for more than other items in this collectible category. There were also combination lanterns/foot warmers that would light the way to and from the carriage in “pre-Edison” America. Patents for this innovation were filed in 1854 and 1865.
By the mid-1800s, the foot warmer was making its way into Victorian American households. Foot warmers intended for domestic use usually have some decorative elements and are designed to carry hot water or coal. They are usually made of stoneware, pewter or pewter with carpeting. Tin foot warmers keep water warm for about three hours, so they can still be used in today’s eco-friendly world.
At a recent auction in California, an 18th century wood heater sold for $1,000.00. Because California was settled later than the rest of the country, these early examples are much rarer there. Auction prices generally range between $20.00 and $500.00, fitting most collector budgets.
The variety of shapes, materials, innovations and prices make leg warmers a diverse area of collecting. It’s not a well-known collectible category as you might guess, so you can build a hot collection for some cold cash and still keep your feet warm.
#Cold #feet #warm #dogs