After a long hiatus in posting, I want to wish you all a happy Holiday season! As my gift, I am sending you all this cheery Holiday fireplace. Those in cold areas can use an extra one, and those lucky to be in warm places can regard this as a virtual fireplace.
Here is the entire bag of fireplace fuel. You will notice that this comes from the Nickel Plate Coal and Supply Company in Painesville, Ohio. Some readers may remember an older post in which I visited the charming city of Painesville.
The Nickel Plate Coal and Supply Company was presumably connected with the Nickel Plate Railroad, although perhaps in name only. The Nickel Plate was important to Ohio and Cleveland history. In the early 1900’s, the Van Sweringen brothers obtained control of the Nickel Plate because they needed its right-of-way into Cleveland in order to develop a streetcar line for the now-famous new suburb they were developing, Shaker Heights.
There was also a Nickel Plate Milling Company in Painesville, which produced flour. Here is a vignette from one of their old envelopes:
They produced this lapel pin for a complicated promotion at the Lake County Fair (held in Painesville, where else?). They gave out these numbered badges to fair-goers, and if you found someone with the same number, you each got a free bag of flour. I have a few of these in my Painesville collection, but so far no matching set.
I realize that this fireplace gift is a rather ambiguous one. The bag presumably contained coal, and coal is the traditionally prescribed gift for naughty boys and girls. So you will have to decide for yourself how this applies to you. Of course, as fossil fuels get rarer, there is now an implied degree of generosity in a gift of coal.
Once again, let me wish you a very pleasant holiday, and a happy and healthy New Year for 2019!
(All photos and original objects collection of the author.)