The Christmas Train

It’s the week before Christmas and most of us in the office didn’t check-in this morning. Our brains are alive with visions of trees, turkeys, and our new toys waiting under the tree. I’m personally trying not to burst into song and dance across the office, singing about Hot-Hot Hot Chocolate, never ever let it cool, hot-hot, yea we got it… Lead Salesman Scott’s giving me the look.. Right… Back to topic. The history of Trains and Christmas! Trains and What? For those of you who have never heard of this, it is fairly common in the United States to have a model train under your Christmas Tree. The famous model train maker Lionel even sells a polar express set designed to go around the tree. This is a tradition that dates back almost to the first steam trains. In some ways, it goes back even farther. From Steam to Electricity Steam engines were a massive symbol of travel, commerce, and industry in the late 1800s. Every Christmas, you didn’t fly home, you took the train. If you shipped something long distance, it took the train. If you were waiting for word from distant family, you probably went to the train station for a telegram. It was a massive, unavoidable part of life. Toy trains would have been common in those days, everything from carved and painted wooden train sets to heavy, drop-this-and-lose-your-foot cast iron trains with wind up motors. […]

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A (Brief) History of Christmas

Merry Christmas, one and all! Today we’re going to take a look at the history of possibly the biggest holiday in the world. For this particularly holiday, we’re going to have to cut back on some of the details. The particular origins and specifics of Christmas are more than enough to fill a couple books even when summarized.   The Old Christmas Christmas was first affixed to December 25th somewhere around the year 336 A.D. At the time, there was no holiday celebrating Jesus’s birth. There were however, numerous other holidays from other religions. This meant Christians would celebrate Christmas along side Pagans celebrating the Solstice and Romans celebrating Juvenalia. These other holidays, combined with plentiful food from the recent harvest, made early Christmases more like Mardi Gras. It was a wild festival full of excesses. In these days, social orders were turned upside down. The poor demanded fine food and drinks from the rich. There were extended periods of businesses closing, for weeks to celebrate. There could be feasts lasting nearly two weeks. It was a time to drink and be wild, with no real emphasis on gift giving or any of the holiday’s current focuses. These excesses weren’t shared by everyone. The varied sects of Christianity took different approaches to the holiday. Some groups were in favor of celebration. Some were intent on banishing the holiday entirely. In the 17th century, Puritans taking political control in England would […]

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The Story of my Furnace Failure

The most important thing for your HVAC System is preventative maintenance. We’ve advised you not to panic when things go wrong. Instead, the time to panic is when you notice something is off. If the furnace makes a really bad sound, treat it for the cancer that it is. When something’s not running, you can calmly poke it and see what happens. It’s not going to get any worse because you knocked on the fuel tank to see if it was really full. When there’s symptoms of trouble however, every day is going to make things worse. The First Symptoms It’s 2012. I’m living with my parents, about to set off for college. The furnace kicks on and immediately something isn’t right. I can hear the water trickling into the baseboards. On the surface, this might not seem bad. You hear water all the time. You should never hear water in a baseboard or a radiator. Your radiators should be filled to the brim with water. At the most, you might be able to hear a sort of hissing noise, the sound of water moving. I heard a dripping noise. If water can drip, there’s air in the line. If there’s air in the line, the heating system isn’t running under pressure, it isn’t sealed like it should be. The furnace and water tank are pretty much filled with just water. Water flows into the heat exchanger. Water flows out […]

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