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Fuel Used In The Homes


Daniel Ohmann

Junior High Division


Fuel today is about an important to us as food is to ourbodies.

It gets people to and from work or school, keeps us warm,and cooks food for us. Today's chief fuels are as follows: coal, oil, naturalgas, and electricity. Some fuels that have been used earlier are wood andpeat. Wood was the chief fuel used in home stoves until around the 1930'sor 1940's in this area. When coal became obtainable, consumers used it,along with wood, for heating and cooking. It was probably a wise thing todo for a number of reasons.

First, coal is not nearly as bulky as wood. Second, coalgave off about two and one half times as much heat as wood. Third, therewasn't as much work involved in obtaining it. One could simply drive toan elevator or railroad depot and pick it up whereas for wood, a consumerhad to go out into a forest and cut it down himself.

This type of work took many long hours. First, the treeshad to be selected and then either chopped or sawed down. After they weredown, they had to have their branches taken off. Then the logs were cutinto sections small enough to be hauled home.

The dead trees brought back were ready to use after theywere cut up and split. But the green trees were cut and allowed to dry fora year or so until they would be dry enough to use.

These cut trees were stacked up in piles to be sawed intoapproximately eight inch chunks. They generally sawed them with a saw attachedto a tractor which supplied the power. This job usually required three men.Two were needed to hold the log and the third man would feed the log intothe saw. The chunks of wood that were left were then stacked to dry. Fromthis pile, they were split and brought into the homes.

People who didn't live very close to forests had to haulwood for long distances. Because of this, they wanted fuels that they couldget easier and produce more heat per pound. Oil was one that started toget used then.

Oil had many advantages over wood and coal. It left nowaste and could be started or stopped instantly.

About this time, natural gas became very popular for bothheating and cooking. It is found beneath the surface of the earth usuallywhere petroleum is found. It is usually piped from the gas fields many hundredsof miles to cities where it is used, or it could be bottled in special gastanks and brought to homes.

Electricity is also used for heating and cooking. Thistype of fuel is very clean and is widely used today.

Modern fuels have made modern conveniences for us and ourhomes, and it simply eases the burden of everyday living.


Reuben Ohmann, Noyes, MN, Interview, January 30, 1974

Gloria Ohmann, Noyes, MN, Interview, January 30, 1974

Gloria Ohmann, Noyes, MN, Interview, January 30, 1974