Country Home Comforts
The promotion of home comforts and conveniences in country homes all over North Carolina is planned by the bureau of extension of the University of North Carolina working with the State Highway Commission. A group of experienced engineering officials among the university faculty, with P.H. Daggett, professor of electrical engineering as director, has been organized to advise and assist, free of all charge, in providing for rural communities water supplies, electric light and power plants, to investigate natural water power possibilities for country homes, to prepare plans for their development, and to furnish specifications for the installation of rural mutual telephone systems.
Prof. J.H. Mustard will have charge of electric light and power projects, Prof. J.E. Lear of telephone systems, Prof. Thorndike Saville of water power and sanitation, Prof. E.C. Branson of social science engineering.
This organization for the promotion of country home conveniences and comforts grew out of authorization by the general assembly of 1917 to the State Highway Commission to carry on this work. The commission has enlisted the bureau of extension of the university and the headquarters of the work will be at Chapel Hill. Prof. Mustard was at the State Fair with the highway commission and already several projects are being planned. Profs. Daggett and Saville are spending this week in Virginia investigating successful rural telephones and small water power developments in the country around Lexington and Harrisonburg.
To assist the work, exhibits will be built at Chapel Hill showing what can be done with small facilities. These include a model water power plant on a small stream near Chapel Hill, which will furnish power for lighting, washing, pumping, ice making, dairy use, and other home jobs. A sanitary engineering laboratory will shortly be available at the university for making texts on water and sewage, and a housing exhibit, which is expected to attract a great deal of attention on account of the present crisis in housing conditions in many parts of North Carolina, will be built. The various conveniences possible around a home, such as convenient running water and water carriage sewerage systems for the farm houses and rural districts will be planned in connection with the model water power plant. Adding to this will be a small demonstration telephone system showing the method of operating the various types of telephone apparatus.
Any of these contemplated improvements in country homes or country neighborhoods will be investigated, upon request, by engineering experts, professional advice will be given, plans drawn or criticized, knotty problems will be worked over, and general assistance of any nature will be rendered free.
“Every farmer in the State is limited by lack of man power,” said Prof. Daggett here today, in speaking of the work. “More help would make men more profits. Under existing conditions the only hope lies in replacing the labor of human hands with machinery. An electrical unit driving by gasoline, kerosene or water power will do many jobs that ordinarily take the entire time of someone until they are finished, jobs that can be done better with a small motor for a few cents an hour than by any farm hand. The bureau of extension will furnish free of charge engineering assistance in selecting, purchasing, installing, and operating electric light and power plants for farm and farm community uses.”
In talking further about the difficulties attendant upon the storage of labor and the efficiency of electricity in the farm home, Prof. Daggett said:
“Every farmer needs electric lights for safety, for a fire means the loss of a barn or a home. In addition he enjoys the advantage of the best light and a reduction in the insurance rate. The electric motor makes it possible to install a complete water system in the farm buildings together with a hose for washing the automobile, etc., and for the garden during dry spells. With a motor-driven buzz saw all the wood sawing could be done as the logs are brought in during the winter months. Milking is hard work and an electric milking machine will do the milking in a shorter time and better at a few cents per hour. The same motor will also separate the cream and church the butter. Such jobs as corn shelling, cutting ensilage, chopping feed, sharpening mower blades, corn knives, axes, scythes, etc., can be done at home, saving time that should be spent in the fields.
“In the home, sewing, washing, ironing, sweeping, mixing bread, freezing ice cream, sharpening knives, and numerous other jobs can be done with little effort and leave more time for the farmer’s wife to enjoy life as her city sisters are doing. In addition there are many other appliances that will increase the comforts and conveniences of the household, such as electric fans, toasters, bread mixers, water heaters, etc.