Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/854

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to maintain the warmth of the walls. M. Somesco has now lived in this house for some years. Without the aid of fires, when the windows were shut, he has never known the temperature of the rooms fall below 54° Fahr., and this during the hardest frost. If the windows were thrown wide open the temperature indoors would not fall below 39° Fahr. in spite of the frost. The air coming through the windows is absolutely cold and frosty, but the thermometer rises under the influence of the heat radiated from the walls. There is a fireplace in each room, though fires are very rarely lighted. When, however, it is very cold weather and the windows have been open for a long time, then it is expedient to light a fire for an hour or so. As there is no loss of heat through the coldness of the walls, the room is warmed in a very short time. On the day of our visit the drawing-room windows had been open for two hours, and as the weather was very cold a fire was lighted, but soon the fire was let out, the room was too warm, the thermometer marking 78° Fahr. We left the drawingroom for some time. We opened the front door leading to the garden, and the drawing-room door, which was from four to five feet from the front door. Thus the fresh air from the garden blew freely into the drawing-room. Yet, and though there was now no fire, the radiation of heat from the walls was such that the thermometer marked 66 Fahr. In the garden the temperature was below 50° Fahr., and a strong northeasterly gale was blowing. Thus we were while indoors breathing cold, pure air from the garden.

We have seen that M. Somesco's house was built on a swamp; and yet the principal, if not the only, inconvenience from which he has suffered is extreme dryness. We visited other houses in the neighborhood and found the walls stained by the damp to a height of six or seven feet; some of M. Somesco's furniture and other objects were spoiled because the wood had split in consequence of its extreme dryness. To counteract this inconvenience, M. Somesco has been obliged to place a large number of plants in different parts of the house, a measure which, however, adds considerably to the charm and beauty of the place.

The heat and dryness thus secured cost M. Somesco ten tons of English household coals per annum. His house has fourteen rooms, and ten persons could live comfortably in it. The cost would then be one ton of coal per head per annum. But then it must be noticed that the furnace and the system of warming the passage round the basement of the house are somewhat roughly contrived, and that more economical methods of obtaining the necessary heat could be easily devised. Then it must also be noted that it is not a question of warming one room or a portion of a room, but that the entire house is equally warmed, and