How did Heaters Breathe


Bill Welch
 

The following is quoted from a letter that appeared in an Federal
Trade Commission report in 1919 that was examining Private Car Lines.
It was part of an investigation of the condition of the Armour owned
fleet including their various companies that shipped fresh produce.
It was written by a Mr. Joseph Flaherty and the T.R.E. cars he refers
to are those owned by Tropical Fruit Express, an Armour Car Lines
subsidiary at the time.

"During the winter seasons of 1911, 1912, and 1013, I have been
handling for Connolly-Fanning Co. the selling end of their banana
business. All of the fruit which they have received from the South
has come from the Atlantic Fruit Distributors, New Orleans, and
nearly all of it has been shipped in T.R.E. cars.
The condition of the fruit arriving here in these cars during the
winter months has been so notorious that the trade will not pay as
much for the same fruit in similar condition and similar weight
arriving in a T.R.E. car as they will if it is contained in any other
kind of equipment. This is because of the fact that they have so
generally and regularly sustained loss due to frost damages where
they purchase bananas out of T.R.E. cars.
It is usual during the cold weather to put heating seoves [stoves] in
the cars and it has been my experience that in any kind of
refrigerator cars outside of the T.R.E. cars a stove will not burn
for any length of time with the plugs, vents, and doors closed.
On the other hand, almost invariably in the case of T.R.E. cars, the
stoves will burn with all vents, plugs, and doors closed.
I consider this conclusive proof that this class of equipment permits
the ingress of fresh air."
My question is under ordinary circumstances in a sound car in good
repair, how would the stoves or charcoal heaters breathe? While the
leaky TRE cars were clearly a problem, the heater did need an air
supply to burn. Cars so equipped were placarded to warn anyone before
they entered a car, yet it has never occurred to me to wonder how the
heaters would continue to burn if they were also exhausting their air
supply.

Bill Welch

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