Cleaning And Blackleading A Grate

1. Put on a pair of old or housemaid's gloves, which can be bought from 9d. a pair, and can be easily washed; remove fender and fire-irons.

2. Spread a hearthcloth to protect the carpet. Sacking can be used; but the most satisfactory plan is to make them of hessian (7 3/4d. per yard), double width; 2 yards making two, as the half-width is sufficient. Sheets of brown paper or newspaper can be utilized.

3. Lift out the larger cinders, and sweep out gently the smaller pieces and ashes , remove the register, and sweep behind and around it; sweep up the hearth and sift the cinders in a cinder shovel over the housemaid's box, so that the ash falls in and the cinders are retained, part being used for laying the fire, and the remainder mixed with coal and placed in the coal-box.

Cinder-Shovels

Cinder-shovels cost 7 1/2d. each, and when there is not a large amount of cinders they can be used, and are more convenient than carrying out the cinders into the yard and sifting them through a round cinder-sifter (1/-) over the ash-bin.

4. Thoroughly dust the bars and the whole of the grate, as unless all dust is removed the blackleading will be grey. Dusters should be kept specially for this purpose; black ones are most suitable, as their use prevents the possibility of misuse.

5. MIXING BLACKLEAD. The blacklead should be mixed with warm water to the thickness of cream, then a few drops of turpentine added, as this removes any grease, and causes the blacklead to dry quickly. It is a mistake to mix the blacklead with turpentine solely, as it does not dissolve the lead so thoroughly, and causes it to be lumpy.

6. HOW TO BLACKLEAD. Commence at the top of the grate, and apply a little blacklead with a small round brush ( 1 1/2d. each) as lightly as possible; brush it off almost immediately with a hard brush; then begin the polishing with a softer brush; and lastly, to obtain a brilliant polish, use the softest brush. A final rub with a piece of black velveteen adds still more brilliancy. It must be remembered that very little blacklead should be used, or the polish is hard to obtain; also only a small portion should be blackleaded at a time, because if it becomes dry before being polished the grate will be dull. Blackleading not only improves the appearance, but it preserves the iron and keeps it from rust.

Housemaids' boxes can be purchased from 2/- to 5/- each, the more expensive ones being larger and provided with a fitting cinder-sifter.

An excellent substitute is a margarine-box, black enamelled, with a hole bored through two sides, and a rope handle inserted.

A tiled hearth and curb should be washed with warm soapy water, and be quite dry before the fire is relighted. The tiles must not be washed while hot, as they are liable to crack.

How To Lay A Fire

Place two or three pieces of cinder at the bottom of the grate; on them lightly put a few pieces of crumpled paper, so that the air is retained in the folds. Next come the sticks, which may be either crossed over one another with air spaces between (the ends resting on the bar to prevent their pressing too heavily on the paper), or they may be placed in an upright position (tent shape) so as to catch the draught. Lightly put over them a few pieces of coal, about the size of a hen's egg, and a few cinders. When well burnt up, add a little more coal. If well laid, one match applied to the paper should be sufficient to light the fire.

The great secret is to have all the materials perfectly dry, and to arrange them in such a way as to leave plenty of air space, for if the supply of oxygen is cut off the fire will not burn. Too much paper puts the fire out, as it contains hard substances which will not ignite.

Advantages Of Closed Over Open Stoves

1. More space for cooking; more pans can be kept in use.

2. The heat is more regular and uniform.

3. The saucepans do not become so sooty and smoked.

4. There is no danger of soot falling down the chimney into any food that is being cooked.

Oil Stoves

If possible, these should be kept in an outhouse, as they are less liable to be knocked over, and the fumes can escape more readily. They are made of tin, and usually have two large reservoirs for oil. If they are to be successfully used and the smell of oil avoided, a few points must be borne in mind.

1. They must be kept perfectly clean.

2. Good oil must be used, and the stove should be thoroughly wiped lest any should be on the surface.

3. The wick must be evenly trimmed and attended to frequently.

4. Tin utensils must be used, as they are lighter.

These stoves are convenient in summer, where gas stoves cannot be used, and are cheap, costing about 2 10s. But being of tin they quickly rust, especially if exposed to damp, they are easily knocked over, the fumes are unpleasant and unhealthy, and they require constant attention to keep them clean.

Small spirit lamps are convenient for heating liquids or boiling water. They can be used anywhere, as no special ventilation is necessary; they are, however, very inflammable.