Safeguards for the future health of home owners of the Wayne Estate houses were listed in one of several booklets printed in the late eighties and early nineties by Wendell and Smith, “Home Builders,” as “Pure Water and Air,” “Thoroughly Tight Underground Drainage,” “Substantial Highways,” “Edison Electric Light” and “Steam Heat from a Central Plant.”
Since the discontinuation of “central heat” only last month after some 60 years of continuous service has been a subject uppermost in the minds of many a homeowner, it is interesting to note how these early booklets advertised it.
One says: “Steam heat will be provided for these country home places for next winter. This is an economical, health-giving, and comfortable warmth fro homes. The regulation of the heat in our houses and the avoidance of too high a temperature in winter would certainly lessen the number of preventable diseases. This opinion is held by practically all physicians and sanitary experts, who agree that steam heat has assumed valuable importance to mankind’s health and comfort. It is only lately, however, that a practical system has been adopted in this country in any save the residences of the wealthy. “The Holly System” which will be in operation here, delivers the heat in the same way that water and gas reach your house, obviating the trouble and annoyance of heater attention.”
Two of the other booklets speak of the ease with which this heat is controlled by the occupants of the houses. “Civilized Society,” one advertisement states, “demands the best service which science can master in supplying its necessities and to practically minister to its everyday comforts. Steam heat for domestic use is the most modern application to those needs. A plant for this purpose has been erected in Southeastern Wayne, near St. Davids station, from which point the supply will be distributed to the houses of the town.
“Accustomed to the safe and economical city conveniences of light and water, we can hardly realize that invention has provided steam heat for dwelling houses in the country, and at a price about what is regularly paid for the use and care of heater fires. The heat is supplied by a pipe line into the houses, under the easy control of the occupants, and it is thoroughly safe. The system in use here is that of the Holly system which furnishes a remedy for the evils of impure air, excessive heat and bad ventilation, and also obviates the annoyances of heater attention and ashes and their removal.”
And as one who for many years regulated the temperature in her own home by the simple turn of a wheel-like valve just above the floor in the living room, the writer is more than willing to go on record that the system did “obviate the annoyances of heater attention.” In spite of the antiquated features of that Holly system many a homeowner has rebelled at exchanging it for a more modern gas, oil, or coal furnace. Besides which, many houses built for central heating have proved not too adaptable to individual furnaces.
Of drainage, one advertisement states in its opening sentence: “There are no cess-pools in Wayne.” Amplifying this statement another continues: “The perfect sewage system designed and constructed by Colonel George E. Waring, Jr., is in successful operation. It is not only a pride to its projector, but a wonder in the scientific world. To the utility of this system is due the fact that there is not a single cess-pool in Wayne, and that every house is underdrained. The waster from the house passes through sewage pipes into a common main and thence to a point probably a mile and a half from the Opera House, where by a most interesting process it is part purified, part neutralized, and part destroyed.”
So much for Wayne’s early sewage system. The history of the vicissitudes of later systems can be described adequately only by the members of the Board of Township Commissioners, who struggled valiantly with the perplixing aspects of local sewage over the years.
The promoters of early Wayne were obviously very proud of its lighting system, as witnessed by the following paragraph: “Light, after pure water and good drainage, is one of the necessary luxuries which the man of today demands in his search for comfort. No one would wish to live in a suburban town where the necessaries of life only were procurable, and the lack of satisfactory light keeps the residents of most suburban towns home at night. Wayne has a local Edison Electrical Light Plant, which illuminates its avenues and its homes, and no householder need fear a dark or lonely walk, or a gloomy house.”