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Kerosene tractors, y’all

They’re American, naturally. We love our kerosene. Still blows my mind that jet fuel is kerosene and not the much more flammable gasoline.

Growing up, we had it around for all kinds of things, mostly oil lamps and starting fires. Only, we didn’t call it kerosene, we called it coal oil. At least, I think that’s what we were saying – being mush-mouthed Tennesseans, we actually said colall.

There’s a sad story I heard about the old-time classic Little Maggie. Fiddler Tommy Jarrell said around 1915 his cousin was trying to revive a dying fire and had an accident with the kerosene.

They put Jullie to bed right away–her whole body was burned up to her chin, and at first she cried in pain but after a while she didn’t feel anything at all. That evening as she was laying there she asked me to get my banjo and sing “Little Maggie” for her. That was the only thing she wanted to hear–it had just recently come around and everyone seemed to take to it. I expect I played it the best I ever had in my life, with the most feeling, anyway. It seemed to comfort her and pick up her spirits a little, but by the following morning she was dead.

Okay, now I’m sad. Stupid kerosine.


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 24, 2023, 7:21 pm

And just to keep everyone confused, we call it paraffin over here. Growing up it was mostly used in portable heaters which were in almost every house. Carbon monwot, guv’nor? Never ‘eard of it!

Comment from Tim Carlson
Time: August 24, 2023, 8:09 pm

Oh man, now I’m sad, too.

I’m not crying . . . _you’re_ crying.

Quick! A chook post!

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: August 24, 2023, 8:48 pm

We also called it coal oil back in the day.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: August 24, 2023, 8:51 pm

The Lord loves us, Stoaty, as demonstrated by the fact that we usually get away with doing thoughtless, careless, and stupid things without hurting anybody. It’s just that it’s not always so, alas.

Comment from ExpressoBold Pureblood
Time: August 24, 2023, 9:59 pm

I had a relative who died after receiving burns on his left side due to the explosion of an “oil can” and other complications from the injury. This happened in 1929 and he was 74.

I never knew him.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: August 24, 2023, 10:00 pm

Coalearl or lampoil.

Comment from Pupster
Time: August 24, 2023, 10:24 pm

I dated a girl in high school who’s family ran an oil and gas distribution company. Her entire house was heated by 5 or 6 of those kerosene heaters. It was her job to fill them up every morning before school in cold weather. I’ll never forget the smell, not unpleasant but pretty overpowering.

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