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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/83

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55
THE KITCHEN

stove should be provided with ATMOSPHERIC burners, which produce a blue flame, a mixture of gas and air, of higher heating power (with consumption of less gas) than the white flame produced by the LUMINOUS burners.

Gas Fires.—The great advantages of gas over coal fires consists in the complete absence of ashes and dirt; in the fact that a bright hot fire can be obtained at any moment, night or day; that the heat can be regulated at will, or the fire extinguished when not required; in dispensing with the necessity of carrying coal into, and ashes and refuse out of, the room; in the freedom of the atmosphere from dust, and the consequent saving in the matter of furniture dusting, curtain washing, etc. Against this must be reckoned the greater cost of gas fires as compared with coal for constant use; but, notwithstanding this, there are few persons who have once used a good gas fire that could be persuaded to return to the old method of heating. For bedrooms, and occasional using, a gas fire is always economical, as compared with coal; in fact, the expense and great trouble of coal fires for bedrooms render their use sometimes prohibitory, whereas a good hot gas fire can be obtained for half an hour, night and morning, at a cost of 6d. per week or less. In the sick-room a gas fire is simply invaluable; its steadiness, night and day, and the perfect control over the warmth of the room are far above the possibilities of any coal fire. In sudden emergencies the instant command of a good fire in the night is sometimes a matter of life or death. In the bronchial affections common in this country warmed air is frequently of the utmost importance, and this can be obtained in moderate sized rooms by a gas stove properly constructed, with a regularity and economy which cannot be approached by coal or coke. Where the family consists of only two or three persons, small but powerful open gas fires, with an oven over the fire to utilize the waste heat, will be found of the greatest value and economy, as they do away entirely with the dirt and labour of coal fires, and yet fill all the purposes of a small kitchen range. These are now to be procured from any gas Company, hired from them, or obtained by the hire purchase system.

Objections to Gas.—The objections to the use of gas as a fuel exist only where the wrong appliances are selected, or when no trouble is taken to learn their proper use. One of the most common causes of failure with gas fires is that they are purchased for use either where there is no flue or where the chimney has a down draught; in such cases as these the faults which cause the failure of a coal fire will be equally unfavourable to a gas fire. Burners used for gas cookers must be kept clear and in good condition; if choked with dirt and grease, they will be as unsatisfactory as burners used for lighting under the same conditions. Pans and kettles must be kept clean outside, or they make an unpleasant smell, and ovens must be kept clean inside for the same reason, and also for the sake of sweet flavours in the food.