The Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota manufactured this Honeywell Comfort brand thermostat in 1939. The thermostat used Honeywell’s Time-O-Stat feature that allowed the home owner to set a lower temperature for up to 12 hours, before returning the heat to any temperature between 45 and 69 degrees. This could be used to turn off the thermostat during the evening or while the occupant was at work, helping reduce fuel consumption and save money. Late 1930s advertising depicted the thermostat selling for $12.50, a lower-end thermostat for the Minneapolis-Honeywell company.
The ubiquity of thermostats in 21st century homes shrouds the decades of innovation, industrial design, and engineering that went into making them an everyday object in almost every home. In the early 20th century, a majority of American households still heated their homes with manually operated furnaces that required a trip down to the basement and stoking the coal fired furnace. Albert Butz’s “damper-flapper” system was patented in 1886 and allowed home owner to set the thermostat to a certain temperature which would open a damper to the furnace, increasing the fire and heating the house. Progressive innovations allowed for the thermostats to use gas lines, incorporate electricity, turn on at a set time, include heating and cooling in one mechanism, and even connect to the internet.
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