uring the summer, I wrote a little about working on the chimney of the new house with my dad. Namely, we pulled out a hundred pounds of debris that had built up over years of lack of use. Last week, Pops and I finished up the project by dropping a 6″-diameter aluminum flexpipe liner down the chimney. (According to my dad, the holder of all knowledge, natural gas exhaust is acidic and eats away at mortar, which explains all the eroded sand and lime we pulled out a few months ago. The liner is meant to protect further damage from occurring.) After installing the liner and creating a hood, we fired up the gas heater insert.
The house came with an old gas fireplace insert. There’s evidence the fireplace was likely originally coal-burning, so I’d always presumed the gas burner was from the 1950s or ’60s. But upon further investigation, it seems the coal fireplace was replaced in the 1910s or ’20s, not long (relatively) after the house was built in about 1890. The back of the insert has a torn, faded sticker that lists a number of patents from the mid 1910s. It also has a couple badges naming it the Humphrey Radiantfire No. 65. While Googling the relative likelihood of the contraption burning my house down or suffocating me with carbon monoxide, I came across a PDF of the ad above from a 1923 magazine ($40.75 from 1923 equates to roughly $550 today).
So, this rig is probably a hundred years old or so, but I wasn’t too surprised when it worked. It’s in gorgeous shape, and there’s just nothing to go wrong with the mechanics: it’s ten simple gas burners that heat up a thick ceramic plate until it glows orange, which radiates heat out across the room. Which, on a chilly, windy morning like the one today in Omaha, is just about perfect.
couple weeks ago, Porridge Papers in Lincoln showed a poster I designed in an opening of letterpressed, beer-related prints. The opening itself was a riot: beer, brats and polka-punk rock. And it was pretty cool to finally see the printed work, on hand-made paper, surrounded by other awesome posters. Word is mine is one of the better-selling prints they have, too. So, to shamelessly plug what I’ve done; give Porridge a call (402.742.5415) or send them a message on Facebook and order one. They’re $25, most of the profits make it into my beer fund, and they make good Christmas presents. You’ve got two weeks left to get your order in.
Credit to Ben Vankat for the photo of the opening.
his week’s issue of Hail Varsity features a package I helped put together detailing the evolution of Nebraska’s football uniforms since 1960 in advance of the alternative uniforms the Huskers are about to wear aganst Wisconsin. I’m pretty proud of how it came together. And the web presentation is pretty cool, too, I think. Go visit the website and take a look. Or, even better, subscribe to the print edition. No, seriously. Do it. It’s how I pay my bills.
ext Friday, Oct. 5, Porridge Papers in Lincoln is hosting an opening for an awesome show: Hoptober Pressed. They’ve asked a bunch of artists to submit posters promoting the glory of beer for them to print with their letter presses into paper “made with the finest quality spent grain from an Octoberfest Lager brewed here in Lincoln by Modern Monks Brewery.” I’m lucky enough to have a poster hanging in the show, and will be at the opening next week. Which means you should be, too. Come by and buy a poster of mine, and I’ll get some beer money. It’s the circle of life. Friday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m. Porridge Papers, 1422 South Street.
he inaugural issue of Hail Varsity hits newsstands today. It’s the new, only locally-owned Husker sports magazine, and I was lucky enough to design quite a lot of the inside of this issue. After my hiatus of a couple seasons, I’ve been a little surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed getting back into sports design, and playing a role in shaping the look and destination of any new publication is always rewarding. Subscriptions are cheap, the writing is strong, the content is original and, best of all, I’m working on the design of it! So go subscribe today.