Saturday, October 3, 2015

Quebec heater in the caboose evokes warm memories

The poorly insulated and partly finished house I lived in growing up had a Quebec heater. It was small, but it cast lots of heat. On the coldest winter days, we warmed our chilled garments in our beds, then rapidly dressed as close as we dared to the Quebec heater. Dad kept a banked fire in that stove through the night.

The one in the picture is in a staff rail car at the Alberta Railway Museum. No doubt in its day it threw plenty of warmth into the small space of the caboose to warm with workers as the train roared across the winter prairies.

Quebec heaters have become antiques but people still use this type of stove. Many originals have been restored, and newer versions are still being made and sold. Voyageurs used these stoves. When the need arose, they could be carried across two large canoes that were then rowed in tandem.

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