Monday, 6 July 2020

A LAD UNIQUE (YES, IT'S A PUN)...



In all seven family homes (counting the one we inhabited twice four years apart as two separate ones) in which I've lived over the decades, on the upstairs landing has stood the above ALADDINIQUE paraffin heater.  A good many years back, I discovered the envelope with the pamphlet and paraphernalia inside that had been sent to our tenement apartment in the West End of Glasgow, but I don't think I ever paid any particular attention to the postmark on the envelope - September 19th 1957.


That means it predates me as I hadn't yet been born, and when I was, I was too young to remember our Glasgow abode when I eventually became aware of my surroundings.  That didn't happen until we were ensconced in our first house in a New Town, and I remember the heater from that point on.  The last time I recall it being used was during the power cuts of the 1970s, along with a couple of paraffin lamps (which I also still have), but it's served merely as an ornament of sorts since then.  Obviously it could be pressed into service again were there ever to be another power cut.


There's something reassuringly familiar about seeing it parked next to the bathroom door (its spot in all our New Town houses) when I trot, barefooted, along the landing on my way to perform the hallowed 'ceremony of evacuation' of bladder or/and bowels.  I'd miss it if it wasn't there - it's like a silent sentinel that stands guard in the night.  Anyway, I thought I'd share some of the images from the contents of the envelope as they speak so eloquently of a vanished age.  The instructions show a bit of wear and tear, but the rest of the contents look almost new (though dated).



15 comments:

  1. I can still smell the aroma of paraffin from the one my parents had. It's redeemable quality was it heated the room as opposed to the coal fireplace it replaced. The coal only heated the chimney pot for the pigeons.

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  2. When I was young (early 80s), there was a garage near where I lived which sold paraffin. I've always clearly remembered that they had an enamel sign hanging outside with the Pink Panther advertising paraffin.

    The thing is, after some internet research, I can't find any record at all of the Pink Panther ever being used to advertise paraffin.

    Either I've misremembered an advert for pink paraffin (my young mind just associating the colour with the character), or it was a homemade sign that someone had painted themselves, similar to the way some burger vans have Superman's logo painted on them.

    Nice to see you still have the paper ephemera from the heater, stuff like that is like a window to a bygone world.

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    1. Well, you gotta look after our feathered friends, T47. After all, why should they go cold? I've knitted some cardigans for the ones that visit my back garden. (He lied.)

      ******

      You never know though, DS - perhaps the Panther WAS used to advertise ping paraffin for a while? He's appeared on other things, so it's not impossible. Yeah, that heater stuff sings of the '50s and '60s, doesn't it?

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    2. There were two brands of paraffin, Aladdin Pink and Esso Blue. The Pink Panther was used on a retail sign that I remember, again whether licensed or not I cannot say. That was in north London. We used Pink paraffin because the retailer gave TRIPLE Green Shield Stamps!

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    3. Ah, Green Shield Stamps - I remember them well, T47. I'm sure my parents used to have loads.

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  3. T47- thank you so much for confirming the Pink Panther was on a sign- I (and people I'd mentioned it to) thought I had imagined it!

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    1. I actually want to see it now, just to satisfy my curiosity, DS.

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  4. I had almost forgotten about those old paraffin heaters that we used to have. The smell of paraffin takes me right back to cold winter central Scotland winters on the late 60 to mid 70s when we lived in an old cottage with no great heating (after that we had good central / gas heating). We had an older looking more traditional paraffin heater (link below) which I was stunned to see going for between £150 - £375 in retro shops. I didn’t think folk used paraffin heaters nowadays we only used our to heat the room up in the morning until my wee mum or dad got the fire going. I always remember the Esso Blue “Dum dum dum Esso blue” advert and the wee characters they had (I recall a character that had a flame head I used have on a keyring etc). Green Shield stamps were a hoot I remember many a night the family getting together to” sponge” the stamps into those wee books and saving about 200 books for something like a small toaster lol

    Our heater
    https://www.reclamation-yard.co.uk/items/original-vintage-valor-paraffin-heater-model-106-r-circa-1927/
    ESO BLU ADVERT
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWcTwVRqFtY

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    1. Took a look at the links, McS, and I remember seeing paraffin heaters like yours somewhere when I was a kid, but can't recall where. I also remember the Esso Blue ads - it was one of those tunes that stuck in your head. Me and my brother thought it was similar to the Opal Fruits tune, so we'd often sing "Esso Blue - made to make your mouth water."

      As for the keyring, there's a pic of the one I bought on ebay a few years back over on Crivens. Great wee thing.

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  5. Opal Fruits for me was one of the best names for sweets ever why they changed it to Starburst just to fit in with the name used for them in US etc boggles me. Marathon and Snickers (stupid name) is the same.

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    1. I think they also had the American names in other EU countries, McS, so that may have been another reason for the change. All in the cause of uniformity. Marathon reappeared again for a short while around a year ago, available in Morrisons, so I bought a four-pack and kept the wrappers.

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  6. I remember when they changed Marathon to Snickers- I was one of the few people in my class at school who already knew what a Snickers was because I'd saw adverts for them in American comics for several years beforehand!

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    1. If I remember correctly, the first time I saw a Snickers bar was when Bob Paynter, group editor of the IPC youth group humour department, brought various bars of chocolate back from a trip to America around 1985 or '86. I seem to recall him saying that US Mars Bars were like UK Milky Ways - or maybe it was the other way around - or both.

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  7. I seem to recall that the drawback with paraffin heaters was that they produced a lot of condensation, so your windows and walls could be running wet pretty quickly. I suppose it was less of a problem in houses with open fireplaces where some of the water vapour could escape up the chimney.
    As regards the Marathon comments above, I remember a backpacking holiday in which the person carrying the paraffin was also carrying the chocolate bars which became tainted. The Marathons were renamed Parathons.

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    1. I don't remember the condensation, TD, 'cos our heater was usually on the upstairs hall landing, but you're probably right. 'Parathons' - you might be on to a good thing there - get it copyrighted now. I've got one - 'Barathon'. (Chocolate BAR - get it?)

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