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Electric blankets and throws have been keeping us warm and cosy for decades, but where did they come from? Read on as we explore the evolution of electric blankets and throws, from their early beginnings to the modern, high-tech versions we know today.
The Early Days of Heating
Before electric blankets and throws, people had to rely on other methods to keep warm, such as fireplaces, stoves, and heated bricks. The ancient Romans used hypocausts, an underfloor heating system, to warm their homes and public buildings. In the Middle Ages, people used heated stones or bricks and hot water bottles to stay warm.
The First Electric Blankets
The first electric blanket was invented in 1912 by an American physician named Sidney Russell. He created the “heated pad,” which was used to keep patients warm during surgery. In 1921, the first electric blanket was marketed for home use by the Electric Products Corporation in the United States.
The Evolution of Electric Blankets and Throws
In the 1930s, electric blankets became more widely available and affordable. They were made of wool, cotton, or rayon and had a heating element inside. The heat was controlled by a thermostat and could be adjusted to different levels. In the 1940s, electric throws were introduced, which were smaller and designed to be used while sitting or relaxing.
In the 1960s, electric blankets and throws became more fashionable and were available in a variety of colours and patterns. They also became safer, with improved safety features such as automatic shut-off switches.
The Modern Electric Blanket and Throw
Today, electric blankets and throws are made with advanced technology and materials. They are often made of microfiber or fleece and have multiple heat settings, timers, and even built-in massage features. Some electric blankets and throws can be controlled with a smartphone app or voice commands.
How Electric Blankets and Throws Work
Electric blankets and throws have a heating element inside that is connected to a cord and plug. The heating element is made of thin wires that are woven into the fabric of the blanket or throw. The cord plugs into an electrical outlet, and the user can adjust the heat settings with a remote control or control panel.
The Benefits of Electric Blankets and Throws
Electric blankets and throws provide several benefits, including:
- Increased comfort and relaxation
- Reduced heating costs
- Relief from pain and stiffness
- Improved sleep
- Better energy efficiency compared to traditional heating methods
In addition to providing warmth and comfort, electric blankets and throws can also offer therapeutic benefits. They are often used by people with chronic pain, arthritis, or other medical conditions that require heat therapy. The heat can help relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and improve circulation.
The Risks and Safety Concerns of Electric Blankets and Throws
While electric blankets and throws are generally safe, there are some risks and safety concerns to be aware of. These include:
- Fire hazards if the blanket or throw is damaged or used improperly
- Electromagnetic radiation exposure
- Overheating and burns if the heat setting is too high or the blanket is left on for too long
Maintaining and Caring for Your Electric Blanket or Throw
To keep your electric blanket or throw in good condition and ensure its safety, follow these maintenance and care tips:
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully
- Wash your electric blanket or throw according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- Store your electric blanket or throw properly, avoiding folding it or putting heavy items on top of it
- Inspect your electric blanket or throw regularly for signs of wear or damage
- Replace your electric blanket or throw if it shows signs of wear or damage
How to Choose the Right Electric Blanket or Throw for You
When choosing an electric blanket or throw, consider the following factors:
- Size – Choose a size that fits your bed or couch
- Material – Choose a material that is soft and comfortable, such as microfiber or fleece
- Heat Settings – Look for a blanket or throw with multiple heat settings
- Safety features – Choose a blanket or throw with safety features such as automatic shut-off switches
- Brand Reputation – Choose a reputable brand that is known for producing high-quality electric blankets and throws
Alternative Heating Methods
If electric blankets or throws aren’t your thing, there are other ways to keep warm and cosy. Some alternative heating methods include –
- Heating pads
- Space heaters
- Radiant floor heating
- Portable electric heaters
- Hot water bottles
The Future of Electric Blankets and Throws
As technology continues to advance, electric blankets and throws are likely to become even more high-tech and sophisticated. We may see more innovative features, such as built-in air purifiers or aromatherapy diffusers. We may also see more eco-friendly options that use renewable energy sources.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is it safe to sleep with an electric blanket?
A. Yes, as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the blanket safely.
Q. How long do electric blankets and throws last?
A. The lifespan of an electric blanket or throw depends on how well it is maintained and cared for. On average, they can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years.
Q. Can electric blankets and throws save money on heating costs?
A. Yes, electric blankets and throws can help reduce heating costs by allowing you to turn down the thermostat at night while still staying warm and cosy.
Q. Can you use an electric blanket or throw if you have a pacemaker?
A. If you have a pacemaker, it is best to consult with your doctor before using an electric blanket or throw.
Q. Can you wash an electric blanket or throw?
A. Yes, you can wash an electric blanket or throw, but you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and avoid folding or bunching the blanket or throw.
Electric blankets and throws have come a long way since their early beginnings. Today, they are advanced, high-tech, and come with many benefits, including increased comfort, reduced heating costs, and improved sleep.
While they do come with some safety concerns, following the manufacturer’s instructions and using them safely can help you enjoy the many benefits of electric blankets and throws for years to come.