Vintage Durango: The luxury of hot water

by Patty Templeton

Once upon a time, taking a bath sucked. It meant laboriously heating buckets of water on the stove and pouring them into a tub. You better have a pal you don’t mind seeing you in the fleshy raw, too, because to keep that bath warm, you gotta keep adding buckets.

Benjamin Waddy Maughan, in 1868, decided this was not the best way to do nekkid business, creating the first device that heated water as it poured into your bath. Unfortunately, it only cooked up small batches of water and it expelled natural gas which made it liable to explode.

In 1889, Edwin Ruud refined Maughan’s idea, making the first electric water heater.

During World War II, if you didn’t already have an electric water heater, you weren’t going to get one until after the war was over. Manufacturers didn’t have the materials of production. The Western Colorado Power Co. took the opportunity to remind people of the good life, and that they could speed their way to the end of the war and a hot bath, if only they bought war bonds …

Patty TempletonDGO Staff Writer

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