Glancing Back: Head Out on the Highway

March 29, 2001
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Taking the Show on the Road

In Columbus, OH, a store owner came up with an unusual method for selling appliances. Instead of making people come to his store, he put an electric and gas range, gas drier, electric ironer, electric refrigerator, combination dish and clothes washer, several small television sets, and some small appliances in trailers and took them out to where the people were.

The April 3, 1950 News reported that Robert W. Baer of Baerco Appliance Co. got the idea when he was home one day due to illness. While at home, he answered the door various times during the day to the vegetable man, the bread man, the dry cleaner, and the department store deliveryman. He wondered if appliances could be sold the same way.

Baer had been using the trailers for about a year at the time the 1950 article was published. At that time, the principal use for the trailers had been to park one at a particular spot like a general store in a rural location for a day or two.

In order to have the electric units working, the trailer plugged into the store’s electrical connection. Gasoline generators mounted on the trailers furnished 110-V power for demonstrating the gas appliances.

For the comfort of the potential customers, folding chairs were available and coffee was made and served. On hot days, cold Cokes were offered in place of the coffee. And all who stopped by were given a small gift such as a measuring stick.

Sometimes drawings were held to increase the traffic. Visitors wrote down their names and the appliances they were interested in. Later, these cards were used for follow-up.


Everyone Under the Sun

The Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractor’s National Association (SMACNA),North-american Heating and Airconditioning Wholesalers Association, Mechanical Contractors of America, Air Conditioning Contractors Association of America, National Funding for the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Industry, Solar Energy Industries Association, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute, and American Supply Association, with the support of the Department of Energy, worked together to draft a series of questions on solar applications of space and domestic water heating.

The questions were for local hvac licensing or registration boards to include on their exams if they so chose, “assuming that basic hvac questions were already a part of local contractor licensing exams,” reported the April 2, 1979 News. The questions were developed from “recognized textbooks and courses on solar heating.” These boards could pick some questions, all of which were thoroughly researched, from the 150 that were developed to include on the exams.

Publication date: 04/02/2001

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