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Coin-operated radiators

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ArthurPeabody
ArthurPeabody Member Posts: 32
The comedian Sam Levenson wrote a memoir of his childhood in NYC, 'Everything but money', in which he remembered that the radiators were coin-operated, that his parents were often too poor to pay for heat, so Levenson and his siblings would bang and fiddle with it in hopes of 'the miracle of the tenement: heat without money.'

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  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,843
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    There were definitely coin operated gas meters.
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 604
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    Coin operated toilet stalls, hard to convince young people that was actually a thing.
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 604
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    Coin operated toilet stalls,

    And BTW.. Im glad they made the door coin operated as opposed to the flush mechanism.
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    Coin operated toilet stalls, hard to convince young people that was actually a thing.

    Still plenty in Europe

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    mattmia2
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,866
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    Coin operated toilet stalls, hard to convince young people that was actually a thing.

    The issue I see with that is people are going to go whether they pay or not one way or another.
    I'd rather free toilets honestly. Either required by law, or paid for by tax money.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    mattmia2
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,554
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    At one time coin access public toilets could be found all over Scotland; I remember them well. A bit of a nuisance if you didn't happen to have the right coin, but you knew about that so you did. Three things happened, more or less at once. First, there was an increase in the number of people who felt it was just fine to go anyway, anywhere. Not sure why. Then there was a decrease in the number of people who carried cash and they were unhappy. So... most of the councils at first said OK, we'll make them free. Which they did. But then they discovered that keeping them clean costs money, which used to come from the coins but now had to come from the council budget, and further in some areas they became places for what is quaintly termed "anti-social behaviour". So... the obvious thing to do was to eliminate them entirely, which they did in many places. It's now uncommon to find a public toilet -- coin or otherwise -- anywhere in the central belt or the more tourist-frequented parts of the country.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    CLamb
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,866
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    At one time coin access public toilets could be found all over Scotland; I remember them well. A bit of a nuisance if you didn't happen to have the right coin, but you knew about that so you did. Three things happened, more or less at once. First, there was an increase in the number of people who felt it was just fine to go anyway, anywhere. Not sure why. Then there was a decrease in the number of people who carried cash and they were unhappy. So... most of the councils at first said OK, we'll make them free. Which they did. But then they discovered that keeping them clean costs money, which used to come from the coins but now had to come from the council budget, and further in some areas they became places for what is quaintly termed "anti-social behaviour". So... the obvious thing to do was to eliminate them entirely, which they did in many places. It's now uncommon to find a public toilet -- coin or otherwise -- anywhere in the central belt or the more tourist-frequented parts of the country.

    Because that's how people are. Everywhere.

    Also, I'm sure some absolutely need to go, right at that time and there's no other option and are broke.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ArthurPeabody
    ArthurPeabody Member Posts: 32
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    mattmia2 said:

    There were definitely coin operated gas meters.

    In NYC? Levenson's family had hot meals, which they must have cooked, which must have been gas in the '20s and '30s.
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,204
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    Coin operated toilet stalls, hard to convince young people that was actually a thing.
    Still pretty common in Europe tourist areas 
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,843
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    mattmia2 said:

    There were definitely coin operated gas meters.

    In NYC? Levenson's family had hot meals, which they must have cooked, which must have been gas in the '20s and '30s.
    https://www.tribstar.com/features/historical-treasure-coin-operated-gas-meter-an-early-form-of-fuel-conservation/article_b578dd13-c11b-5541-bcd1-abac2a8b536c.html

    You can see one in the lower east side tenement museum in NYC as well.
    ArthurPeabody
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 604
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    Coin meter collector. Now theres a career thats nearly over.
    I wonder if the super in apartment blocks had the key to unload coin-filled gas meters ?
    Gas guy probably isnt going to come out at 10pm on a Tuesday.
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • ArthurPeabody
    ArthurPeabody Member Posts: 32
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    Still plenty in Europe

    Nearly all the public toilets in France required money when I was there last. Some had attendants who collected your 2 francs; in Paris they were automated. They closed them down after 9/11 for fear of 'vigipirates'.

    When there were pay stalls in the US there was usually 1 free, which was seriously dirty.
    SuperTechCLamb
  • ArthurPeabody
    ArthurPeabody Member Posts: 32
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    mattmia2 said:

    There were definitely coin operated gas meters.

    I looked it up in Google Books: it's 'light without money' - so it must have been gas.