Heating the house with paraffin heaters in the 1940s and 1950s
Based on the webmaster's childhood recollections
The most common form of paraffin heater / oil stove.
Photographed in Fagans Museum of Welsh Life.
Oil stoves - heaters burning paraffin - were even more portable than electric
fires because they didn't need an electric socket. Furthermore oil was
That, though, was were the advantages ended. Paraffin heaters supplied only
background heat, and burnt with a naked flame that was a serious fire-risk if
the stove was knocked over and the oil was spilt. Also, as the stove didn't
have a chimney, the burning produced a great deal of condensation, and it smelt
badly. I think everyone would have felt ill if they stayed for long in the environment
of an old oil heater.
If you have an old photo which would illustrate
the way of life described here, I would very much appreciate a copy.
In the 1950s we had a paraffin heater in the shape of a radiator. At the
time, I thought this most luxurious as the homes of ordinary people did not have central