Did you hear the transformer blow in Vermilion near the railroad overpass on Friday night?
I had just settled down to enjoy the fine, educational programming on GRIT TV when I heard what sounded like an atom bomb going off a few hundred feet from my condo – followed by a loss of most, but not all, power.
I heard my condo neighbors congregating outside, so I joined them in what turned out to be a post-winter reunion of sorts. One of them suggested that the transformer at the bottom of the hill was the problem. I made a quick call to Ohio Edison (First Energy, actually) and a truck was out in about a half hour, just as darkness fell. I watched as the workers headed into the woods, flashlights in hand.
About twenty minutes later, the First Energy workers came back up and told me that an unlucky woodpecker was the culprit who caused the lack of power. They went right to work, and power was back on about a half-hour after that.
Reddy Kilowatt would have been proud.
And speaking of Reddy, here's an ad from the May 11, 1965 edition of the Journal, showing our old pal serving up a Gold Medallion Home on a platter.
So what's a Gold Medallion Home?
According to Washington State's Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation website, "One of the most effective mass marketing home campaigns of all time was the “Live Better Electrically” (LBE) program of the post-World War II era. It began in the mid 1950s when the General Electric (GE) and Westinghouse corporations decided to co-sponsor a multi-million dollar nationwide campaign to promote the sales of electric appliances and to tout the benefits of electric power. General Electric provided the main support for the program, which launched in March of 1956.
"At the time, utility companies were rushing to meet the increased demand for electricity in postwar America. However, as more power plants came on line the cost of electricity decreased. To increase company profits, homeowners were encouraged to consume more power through the purchase of a variety of electric products. For GE and Westinghouse, the creation of a new market for electric heat also promised to increase company profits. Additionally, the two corporations not only sold residential electric heating units and a variety of household appliances, but they also sold electrical generating equipment to utility companies nationwide.
"To further the new program, in October 1957 the National Electrical Manufacturers Association launched the "Medallion Homes" campaign, which sought to sell initially 20,000 all-electric homes nationwide within a year.
"To earn a LBE Medallion emblem a house had to be solely sourced with electricity for heat, light, and power. The house also had to have an electric range or built-in oven and surface units, and an electric refrigerator and/or refrigerator/freezer in the kitchen. Other requirements were an electric water heater, plus at least one more major electric appliance selected by the builder or buyer from an approved list. An optional appliance might be a dishwasher, food waste disposer, clothes dryer or even an air conditioner. Full 150 ampere service was also required, with a specified number of outlets and switches per linear foot of wall space. And finally, to meet the requirement of “modern living,” Medallion Homes had high standard for built-in illumination throughout the house, initially an unusual feature within new home construction.
"The homes that met LBE standards could be marked with a 3” inch brass plaque emblazed with the “Live Better Electrically” logo. The brass plaque was typically found near the front entry door and could be embedded in the concrete sidewalk, patio or doorstep, or affixed to the wall as a stand-alone marker. Some plaques were incorporated into a doorbell or knocker. For those who wanted a less permanent marker, a 6” inch decal could be affixed to a window."
You can find some of these medallions on eBay, such as the one below, which is the same as the one Reddy is holding.
Anyway, the main message of the ad was that shoppers could see a Gold Medallion Home at O'Neil Sheffield Shopping Center that weekend. It was a great gimmick, bringing the Open House to the potential buyers, instead of vice-versa.
I may have to pick me up one of those medallions. I live in an all-electric, modern condo, where the only gas is a result of my cooking.
How do I like an all-electric home? It's great, except for situations like Friday night.