Sunday, July 11, 2010

From 1910: Yesterday Was the Warmest Yet

This article is from exactly 100 years ago today, published in the Hartford Courant on July 11, 1910. The postcard is from before 1915, and is from the CT Judicial Branch.

Percentage of Humidity Excessive Throughout the Day.

Cooler weather promised by this evening.

‘Tis the voice of the Lobster, I hear him declare.

‘You have baked me too brown--’
“ recited Alice in her immortal work and not only the lobsters, but other folk in this city echoed her sentiments yesterday, because yesterday was a hot day, one of the few in a summer that are really worthy the name. With the added fervor of Friday and Saturday it became a serious proposition to get through the day in a Christian frame of mind.

On Friday, as indicated in “The Courant” of Saturday morning, the mercury reached 90 degrees above zero at 3:45 p.m., which was a good starting point for Saturday, especially as Saturday followed a close, sultry night. The mercury got up to 80 that morning by the time a good many residents of the city got up to look at it and it kept going up as the sun mounted higher in a cloudless sky. The really busy men were the icemen and they certainly earned whatever money came their way, for there is a good deal of work involved in chaperoning a 50-pount cake of ice to the top of a third story flat.

At 4 o’clock Saturday afternoon the mercury touched the highest point of the day, 92.8 degrees above zero, though most men were willing to call it 93. Very little wind was stirring and it was a cause for surprise that heat prostrations were rare. The thermometer dropped from its height with manifest reluctance and never at any time did it get low enough to make a sound night’s rest very probable. And then yesterday came along!

The difference between yesterday and Saturday was that yesterday saw the higher degree of heat and a higher percentage of humidity. The latter held close to 75 all day and at 8 o’clock last evening the mercury stood at 80 and the humidity at 75, though it had been 77. The high temperature of the day was 93 at 1:55 p.m. It certainly showed all the indications of summer.

The distressing part of the day was the humidity for that made the heat nearly unbearable. In the middle west, for instance, 93 degrees above zero does not create a great deal of comment and a pedestrian may pace along the warped planked sidewalks of any little town and still feel that his collar is not a crumpled wreck, because the air is as dry as it is hot. One may be baked there, but at all events he escapes being boiled. It was a hard day for the babies and all day and all night long a chorus of infantile wailings was heard through the residential districts for the infants “with no language but a cry” objected to the heat which was all they could do. If the hot wave continues much longer there will be plenty of work for the nurses in the babies’ hospital.

For some reason not clearly defined the kiosk record did not coincide with the official instruments in the Connecticut Mutual building, for the kiosk thermometers reached 104 on Saturday against a paltry 102 yesterday, though officially yesterday was the warmer day. Last night, though, something out of the ordinary happened, and that was cloudiness. Late in the afternoon clouds suggestive of a thundershower appeared, but the shower did not, though a few scattering drops of rain fell. A southeast wind came along with the clauds [sic], affording a little relief from the fierce heat of the day. During the evening a dispatch was sent out from Washington to the effect that it will be cooler by tonight.

Rain is also predicted in a vague sort of a way for some time this week. Yesterday it rained in Warsaw, Wis., or Wauseon, O., or some other town in the West and the weather bureau, basing its calculations on that fact, thinks that rain may fall in Connecticut eventually. But, for all that, there is no danger of frost in this vicinity at present.

The heat made a great day for the trolley company, because most people got the idea that a trolley ride into the suburbs might prove cooling, but there is not a great deal of frigidity rampant in an open car when there are seven to each seat, two of the seven being fat women, and the running board crowded as well. It made no difference where the cars went to--Unionville, Elizabeth Park, Bloomfield, Middletown or even Zion street answered--and so people perspired on the cars instead of in their own homes where they could say the things which came into their minds without uttering them in the hearing of people who were thinking similar things, but who did not care to hear them spoken. There were may that went for all day, as among the pilgrims of the morning lunch baskets, books and magazines were greatly in evidence. A few carried cushions, and there were one or two who were noticed carrying hammocks, but it was plain to see that the majority wished to truly get back to nature and take the sermons from the trees and birds without any frills or fancies.

All of the morning cars were filled to the limit, and it was not until nearly noon that the traffic began to ease. Then there was a decided lull, for during the heat of midday those who had found ol [sic] and cozy little nooks were serenely eating their lunches and taking delightful siestas beneath the trees, while those at home did not dare venture out. It was nearly 4 o’clock when the second rush began, and more cars had to be pressed into immediate service. Five cares were put on the Elizabeth Park line, and three went to Hockanum, and then it was hard to handle the increasing crowd. No more cars were put on during the evening, but all that were running were crowded to the running boards with returning picnickers and those who were out just for the air.


Middletown 1 said...

Go figure- Nothing about city hall being closed!!! Remember they didnt have a/c either!!!

Anonymous said...

SO What was so good about the GOOD old days?

Anonymous said...

The only thing hotter than two fat women on a humid trolley would be one fat man!