This Old Erie House
By Linda Martin Community Blogger
Owners of old houses have so much in common that house talk comes easy between us. Please join in the conversation as we try to fix, restore and update our old Erie houses.  Read more about this blog.
Archive for the ‘Appliances’ category
Posted: December 31st, 2010

I received some more photos of Eriez stoves today. Thank you! To see all the photos click here to go to my Eriez Photo page.

These photos are from Tom Herwer. He said this first one sold at auction for $2600. It’s a beauty!

This is a 1904 Eriez.

Eriez 3-burner stove.

Eriez parlor stove.

Eriez stove and radiator.

Please send in photos of your Eriez stove. They’ll be added to the Eriez Stoves Photo page.

Posted in: antique, Appliances
Posted: November 24th, 2010

I have been away with my husband visiting my dad in California this past week.  It was a great time to visit before things get crazy with the holidays.  The airports were not busy yet and we made it through without pat-downs at the security check points at the airports.  Both airports we used to check in coming and going (Erie and Sacramento) didn’t have scanners and all we had to do was walk through the usual metal detectors.  All that worry for nothing for me.

While I was at my dad’s house I noticed his heating thermostat.  It looked almost identical to ours that I replaced with a programmable last month.  I thought ours was probably vintage or antique.  I asked my brother who installed the thermostat in my dad’s house how old the thermostat was.  It was new when he installed it less than 8 years ago.  The style looks old to me. Perhaps some people like the old style?

Also, I thought I would mention a purchase I made a few months ago that I forgot to blog about.  I ordered a 50-ft hose from the internet for my Kirby vacuum.  It isn’t a Kirby brand but has attachments that fit different hose connections.  With my hardwood floors refinished I don’t like dragging the vacuum across it all the time and possibly scratching it.  I also don’t like hauling my vacuum on the stairs and with cats it works better to vacuum than to just swiffer.  I do come back and swiffer for any leftover hair. The 50-ft hose does lose some of the suction (from friction of the air in the hose that long) but still has a good suction.  I can place my vacuum and do all of my stairs and hardwood floors in the living room and dining room without moving the vacuum.  I love it! Maybe not as good as a central vacuum system but still great.

Posted in: Appliances
Posted: November 1st, 2010

In my previous post I was going to remove our old thermostat and install a digital one that can be programmed.  The instructions was a 15 minute installation guide.

Well, it took longer than 15 minutes, longer than an hour.  It took a total of about 4 hours to totally complete because I also had to spackle and paint where the old thermostat was because the shape and size was different on the new one. Another hold up was the need for very small screwdrivers to loosen pretty small screws. We had one somewhere…..

I also had to call Honeywell for further instructions because, of course like everything else in the old house, our old thermostat wiring didn’t match anything in their diagrams.  The customer service was very thorough making sure about how our system was set up before giving me the instructions on how to proceed.  It was almost annoying because I had to run to the basement twice for the  answers to questions.  I know they don’t want to be responsible for wiring something wrong and then have the system get ruined but ours only had the two simple wires to deal with and was pretty straight forward but I just needed to know what screws to attach them to. But they were friendly and helpful.  I did manage to figure out how to program it by myself using the operation manual.  I just had a little trouble with the AM/PM which caused us to wake up in the morning very cold. It has since been corrected. Brrrr.

The installation directions said to cut the power to heating system at the switch.  I looked for the switch in our basement like the instructions showed and sure enough we had one and it even said “off” and “boiler.”  The wires led to the boiler.  I used my tester to make sure the power was off to the boiler.  I wasn’t totally at ease using that switch but I didn’t want to cut the power to the whole house if I didn’t have to.

Below is our old thermostat.  It was a White-Rodgers. We are guessing pre 80s.  Maybe even 60s?  It is really ugly.

I removed the cover and this is what it looked like.

Then I loosened the screws on the thermostat but it wouldn’t budge. I had to take a box cutter and score the old paint around the thermostat and then it let loose.

That just left the faceplate and wires.

There was wallpaper behind the faceplate that I didn’t know was there. I removed the faceplate to reveal the wallpaper (below.) It is the same wallpaper that was on the living room walls when we bought the house. It was pretty busy and I can’t imagine it running through both living room and dining rooms but at some point in its past, it did.

I drew around the new thermostat with pencil.  I was going to have to spackle and paint over where the old thermostat’s footprint was.

I put spackle on with a sponge to give it texture to match the wall.  It will leave some points and rough spots when it dries.

When it dried I took a damp sponge over it to smooth the very top just a bit so it matched the rest of the texture. The ridges are smoothed off below.

Below shows the new paint. After it dries a week or so the sheen will match.  I was lucky to still have some of the left over paint from that room.  If not, I would have had to buy a bigger thermostat to try and cover the old thermostat’s footprint or repaint the wall.   I decided to leave the old wallpaper there for another owner in the future to someday discover.

Woohoo! It’s done.  It is very much a DIY project and if you don’t understand something you can call the number they give you on the instructions.  The hardest part was programming it.  Ours had factory presets but you can program time and temperature to be different, which I did.

I’m so glad I finally got this installed. Below, with the cover on, it blends better than the old one and will be much more efficient.

Posted in: Appliances, diy
Posted: October 27th, 2010

We talked about it for a couple of years.  Going high-tech with the thermostat will bring us into the 21st century.  Our old thermostat works just fine and normally I wouldn’t replace anything that not broken but I would like to be able to turn the heat really low at night (I love snuggling under the down comforter) and have the boiler kick on a half an hour before we get up.  Then turn down again during the afternoon when I’m working on house projects (I get over heated when I’m working) but turn back up after dinner when I get cold because we are more or less idle.  My old thermostat can’t do that.

I bought a simple, fairly inexpensive Honeywell.  We only have the boiler that runs the hot-water radiators. There are no fans  and it’s not complicated so I’m hoping the “15-minute installation directions”  takes just 15 minutes. Since this one cost under $30 it should pay for itself within the first month of cold weather I’d guess with the cost of heat now days.

I have never dealt with a thermostat before.  I’ll let you know how easy (or not) it is to install.

Posted in: Appliances
Posted: October 27th, 2010

I spent the better part of the day stripping an interior door from our upstairs landing on my workbench in the basement.  I was using the more powerful Jasco stripper that is really strong stuff.  Suddenly the detector went off on the other side of the basement and I threw my gloves off and ran over to see if it was carbon monoxide or gas that was setting it off.  It was displaying GAS.  The sound was the loudest detector I’ve ever heard.  I pushed the reset but it wouldn’t stop.  I took out the battery and unplugged it to silence it.  Then I started sniffing around for gas.  I couldn’t smell anything but then the smell of the stripper is so strong it would mask it.  I opened the basement window and ran upstairs and opened those window.  Then went back down to the basement to try and and turn off the gas.  I followed the gas line from my dryer which is the closest to the detector and about 10 feet away was a joint with what looked to be a turn-off valve. It wouldn’t budge. I went to the gas meter and figured the red tag on the pipe was hooked to the turn-off valve.  I couldn’t turn it even with a large wrench.  I started to panic.  I was afraid the water heater or furnace would switch on and blow the place up.  But I calmed down and thought I’d surely smell something if it was that bad.

I plugged the alarm back in and the alarm went off again.  I started wondering if the fumes (the label says it contains methyl alcohol) from the stripper could set the gas alarm off but it only detects methane, propane and carbon monoxide.  False alarm?  I can’t smell very well but gas and smoke I am sensitive to.  I don’t smell sweet things very well (which is a bummer when you are out in the woods with wildflowers.) I debated calling the gas company or the fire department since I didn’t smell anything.  I called my husband at work and asked him to come home and sniff for gas in the basement.  He arrived home and didn’t smell anything.  That put my mind at ease.  I asked him to try to turn off the gas, just to see if it worked, and he was able to turn the valve with the wrench.  He turned it off and back on. Well, at lease he can turn it off if need be.  He went back to work and I took my gas detector up to my computer and did some research on this model.  I  checked the reviews for my product and there were a large number of people that have been having the same false alarms.  They even had the gas companies come out and check for leaks and they didn’t find any.  The advice was not to get the combo units (carbon monoxide/explosive gas.) Just get the carbon monoxide alarm because you can’t smell carbon monoxide but you’d smell gas.  The only thing about that is if you were asleep you wouldn’t smell the gas.  This product sets off too many false alarms the reviews say. I’ll check and see if there is a product that is more reliable.  The gas detectors cost many times more than smoke detectors so a really good one will probably cost a lot.

I think I’ll replace the battery and place the detector further away from any gas appliance and see what happens. If it still goes off I’ll buy a different product, maybe just a carbon monoxide detector instead of the combo.  I do worry about carbon monoxide as I had a friend in high school whose whole family would have died from carbon monoxide poisoning had the daughter’s friend not stopped to pick the girl up for school.  When no one answered the door she knew something was wrong.  They found the family asleep and their stove had filled the house with carbon monoxide.

This false alarm cost several hours of my time to be wasted.  I’m glad it didn’t happen in the middle of the night like it did to some of the reviewers on

Just wondering if anyone else has false alarms on their gas detectors?


I found the manual for my detector online and after reading through it I came across this section about false alarms:

The following is a list of substances that at high levels can affect
the sensor and cause an alarm.
Methane, propane, iso-butane, ethylene, ethanol, alcohol,
carbon monoxide, iso-propanol, benzene, toluene, ethyl
acetate, hydrogen, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxides.
Also most aerosol sprays, alcohol based products, paints,
thinners, solvents, adhesives, hair sprays, aftershaves, perfumes,
auto exhaust (cold start) and some cleaning agents.

The fumes from the stripper is what must have set it off because it had alcohol in it.  It was probably good that I opened up the windows as the fumes were probably pretty concentrated and harmful to breathe.  I put a new battery in the unit and reset it and moved the location to another part of the basement and so far all is well.

Posted in: Appliances
Posted: May 12th, 2010

Our bathroom scale was inaccurate, sometimes up to 6 pounds depending on how you stand on it.  If you stand up too far on the platform it changes and if you lean, even a little bit, it changes.  One day I lost 4 pounds and the next I gained 6.  Well, that was impossible.  I decided to buy a new scale as ours was about 10 years old and showing signs of rust underneath.

I ordered a balance beam scale like the ones in the doctor’s office.  It arrived today in a 6ft box.  I opened it and it was in 2 pieces. I carried them upstairs one piece at a time.  It was easy to put the 4 nuts on that hold the pieces together and then you just hook a rod that comes from the top to the base of the scale.  The directions said to put it on a hard level surface.  Our bathroom floor is made up of very small tiles in a geometric design from the 1950s.  I thought it looked pretty level where the scale was going to be.

When I shoved the scale up close to the wall where it would be stationed, I noticed the top slanted down compared to the window shutters.  At first I thought the scale pillar was bent.  But it wasn’t.  I went and got the level and the floor slanted about 1/2 in just 1-1/2 ft.  Oh, these old houses! Maybe that was why the old scale was always so far off.  You have gravity working with it on a slant.

I got a piece of plywood that was a little larger than the base of the new scale and took some shims that I already had for other projects and leveled the board on the floor.  I glued the piece to the underneath  of the plywood.   It doesn’t look all that nice, but it will give the scale a level base and should weigh properly now.  It sits nice and even and doesn’t rock at all and the spirit level says it is very close to level.  I’ll paint the plywood at some future time so it looks like it belongs.

Now I feel like I can trust what the scale says.

Posted in: Appliances, floors
Posted: April 2nd, 2010

I posted about my Eriez Stove a few years ago in my personal blog. I couldn’t find much about it and I had people emailing me asking me how much I thought their stoves were worth. I had no idea! I wondered the same thing about mine.

I’m making a page in the sidebar for Eriez Stoves and I hope anyone searching the web will stumble upon it and provide their photos and information regarding Eriez Stoves.

Mine came down through the family. I loved it in front of the fireplace but with our new configuration of the furniture, that spot is reserved for the flat-screen TV (when we do get one some day.) I moved it in front of the window in the dining room and will most likely put a potted fern on top of it. Even though there isn’t a great place to put it right now, I love the stove and am going to keep it.
This is what my Eriez stove looks like. (Continued after photo.)

Mine is a gas heating stove. It had been converted to have a red electric light inside to look like it was operating. I have since removed that so I can put candles in it. From the research I’ve done it seems Eriez Stoves sold mostly cooking ranges in the later years. They sold their buildings to the Marx toy company in 1936. I have an account with and have found some sketches of some Eriez stoves in some old ads but really no information. If you have an Eriez stove, range or radiator and wouldn’t mind sharing a photo, please email me and I’ll post it on the Eriez Stoves page. Any additional information would be nice, too. I can’t advertise it for sale or give you an appraisal. I just want to have a central place to compare photos but can give contact information for those providing photos if they want.

Here are a few links to information regarding the Eriez Stove Manufacturing in Erie. I’m guessing any Eriez stove would have been made prior to the date of sale, 1936, to the Marx company. However, I read somewhere that they had opened a base of operations or warehouse in the Los Angeles area at some point so I don’t know if that kept operating or not.
pamphlet showing Eriez gas ranges (an ebay item, the link may not be good for long.) Scroll down towards the bottom to see the photos.
an application for patent on a new model of Eriez stove 1931.
1936 Eriez Stove Co. buildings bought by Marx.

Posted in: antique, Appliances