The secret tests of courage of the 70s kids: ASBESTHITZE FROM THE NIGHT

Who doesn’t remember the four boys who endure breathtaking tests of courage in the classic film “Stand by Me – The Secret of a Summer”? Who hasn’t trembled along with the wild adventures of Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern as they repeatedly put their lives in danger on their trek along the railroad tracks? In the childhood memories of an acquaintance of mine, born in 65, the tests of courage were supposedly easier. Only years later would it become clear what danger entire families had exposed themselves to over the years.

As an alternative to coal or heating oil, night storage heating experienced a huge boom in Germany in the 1950s and 1960s. Countless households opted for the dust- and odor-free stoves, which used electricity to generate heat overnight at the much cheaper electricity rate. Such a heated stone core provided comfortable temperatures during the day – and was a secret meeting place for the first adventures of the day. “Everyone lived in one house at that time: downstairs my grandparents, in the middle aunt and uncle with my cousin of the same age, and in the attic apartment us,” said my 50-year-old acquaintance, who still vividly remembered the introduction of the large night storage boxes that you could climb on and even stand on. The thrill these days was who could stand to sit with their butt on the hot box the longest. “Most of the time, my cousin won, and I guess he practiced in secret.”

A game that was repeated several times a day. It was not until many years later, when burly men wearing mouth guards and gloves disposed of the heavy equipment, that it became clear what danger local residents had been exposing themselves to all those years. As it turned out, asbestos was often used in night storage heaters for insulation and fire protection. Asbestos has been banned in Germany since 1993. The fibrous structure of the substance has been shown to be carcinogenic. The end for many night storage heaters was sealed at this point at the latest.

Nowadays, generating comfortable heat with electricity is much easier, more effective, more environmentally friendly and also ensures a pleasant indoor climate. During the development of our electric heaters, we were curious to see if we would succeed in creating the feeling of a tiled stove atmosphere. Today, our bestseller is actually also called “compact tile stove”, works with electricity and, when it provides heat at full operating temperature, may also be used for tests of courage.

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