Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, January 6, 2013, pg. 4
This is the time of year in many homes that we fill the jugs full of water on daily basis and pour them into our humidifiers. Nowadays the humidifiers are small and compact, and are placed in inconspicuous places. When I was growing up here in Albion in the 1960s however, humidifiers were pieces of furniture due to their large size. They were something you would place in the living room next to a table near the register, or a couch.
Many of our Albion residents owned McGraw-Edison humidifiers, produced locally at the plant on N. Clark St. McGraw-Edison produced humidifiers, dehumidifiers, room air conditioners, air cleaners, and electric heaters. Our local plant was known as the "Coolerator Division." It was in existence here under that name (formerly Lonergan Manufacturing) from the late 1950s into the 1980s.
The humidifier owner’s manual stated, "This humidifier was styled and engineered to provide you with a beautiful and effective appliance for your home." Our humidifier was definitely a "member" of the furniture array in our house. It was made mostly of plastic on the outside but was designed to resemble a wood finish. You’d lift up the cover, and there was a spot on the left where you could pour the water. The control panel would show how much water you had left. There was also a humidistat, and an air flow speed dial.
Inside in the center was a large plastic drum which rotated round and round. Who could forget the vaporizer filter-pad? It was stretched over the perimeter of the rotating drum. As the drum rotated, the filter would get wet at the bottom as it was dipped into the water. As it rotated out of the water, the fan located in the back would blow moist air into the room. That’s how it was supposed to work.
My memories of our McGraw-Edison humidifier are of the condition of the filter-pad. Rarely was it black in color as it came originally. You see, Albion’s water quality took its toll on the filter pads. The pads would become encrusted with pebbles of brownish-white lime when exposed to our iron-infested water. This hardened on top on the dry portion of the drum. It would cake on and just like barnacles would add to the weight of the drum. If you weren’t careful, the lime deposits would weigh too much and affect the rotation of the drum or fill in the groove the drum sat upon. We were always breaking off the brown-colored hardened residue from the drum and the filter. Albion’s water quality was much worse back then.
McGraw-Edison humidifiers kept on working long after the factory here was closed, and many Albion homes had them for years afterwards. I wonder if any of our readers still have or use one in their home today? From our Historical Notebook this week we present the cover of the owner’s manual, courtesy of Chris and JoAnne Miller of Homer. Did you have a McGraw-Edison Humidifier in your home?
McGraw-Edison Humidifier Owner's Manual Cover
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic