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Dead Men Tales: Unsung Heroes

HeatingHelp Administrator Posts: 650
edited September 2022 in THE MAIN WALL

Unsung Heroes

In this episode, Dan Holohan celebrates the unsung heroes who do the tough jobs that keep our cities running.

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Thank you to our podcast sponsor Supplyhouse.com.


  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,153
    edited September 2022
    To the unsung Hero. The Grandfather I was named for. His name was Ed Curry. He worked for the Philadelphia School district. He tended to the boilers. His job was a Stoker. He would make sure that the coal was shoveled in to the hearth at just the right amount to keep the building comfortable for all those educators and administrators... that never thought about him in the boiler room below.

    @DanHolohan used to tell a story about "How did that Boiler Get so Big" in his seminars to drive home the reason for performing a heat loss on a building before selecting the correct size of a boiler. In the beginning of the story: "heaters were sized to heat the home on the coldest day of the year to 80° with the windows open, and half again as big for the husband."

    You see the wife kept the home coal heater running but would have the weekend off because the husband was available on the weekends to tend the fire. But being the way men are, the man of the house would put extra coal on the fire so he didn't need to tend it as often. And the story goes on... I used to laugh to myself at that part of the story. My mother told me that Grand-pop was not allowed near the home boiler. Being used to adding 10 to 20 shovels full of coal to a boiler at work. He needed more than "1/2 again as much more space" and was forbidden from even looking at the pressure gauge. If he was caught in the basement, Grand-mom would be on him like white on rice for an explanation in that Irish Brogue that you could cut with a knife

    Ok ... OK Annie, I'm leavin' da boiler ruum.

    Here is a little song my grandfather used to sing from time to time. Nothing to do with HeatingHelp. Just a fond memory. The Curry's were not wealthy by any means with 11 mouths to feed. My mom remembered this one fondly:

    Sung with Irish Brogue

    Me Fadder (Father) brought some nice wall paper home 'da other night
    He said 'dat paper hangin' was as easy as a sight,
    But then he spoiled a dozen rolls, before he got one right,
    and 'den he put his foot tru 'dat (through that) when someone pulled the light.

    Oh when fadder hung 'da paper on 'da wall,
    He put 'da parlour paper in 'da hall.
    He papered all 'da stairs,
    He papered all 'da chairs,
    He Hung 'da border on grandmother's shall.
    'Den 'da ladder slipped and he began to fall.
    and spilled 'da pot o paste upon us all.
    And like fine birds of feather,
    we all got stuck together,
    When fadder hung 'da paper on 'da wall.

    There are more verses that I can't remember but I can still imagine in my minds eye all my aunts and uncles singing the chorus in 4 part harmony.

    To the steam fitters and boiler stokers and everyone else that kept us warm. back in the day and even today. The unsung hero of the modern age of central heating should be recognized for the important job they do.

    THANKS @DanHolohan for all your memories. Good Story

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,551
    Amen, Ed, and thanks for the beautiful tale. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • mattman
    mattman Member Posts: 18
    St. Louis had a bunch of old schools built at the turn of the century with steam heat. Massive steam boilers produced steam that was fed into steam coils in massive air handlers that used 100% outside air. The air was forced down tunnels below the school, then up ducts to the classrooms. Relief grills were placed at each coat closet in the classrooms and the air relieved it self via a series of chimneys located throughout the building. The pneumatic actuators that once controlled the amount of air to each classroom (and thus the temperature) had long since failed and were never repaired. So that is why you would drive by them on a very cold day and see the double hung zone valves open - the teachers opened the windows to counteract the overheating in the rooms !
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,551
    Great story! Thanks for sharing. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • jeant
    jeant Member Posts: 26
    Thank you for your beautiful heart felt story. I believe we all have or need to have a debt of gratitude for the many caring hands in the past which to today still keep us safe and support us. From ditch diggers, plumbers, park caretakers, the folks who built my car piece by piece, those hands live on today, including the men who took me under their wings when I was starting out. We have a lot of unsung heroes to be grateful for, that I am grateful for.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,551
    Amen. Thanks for saying it so well. 
    Retired and loving it.