The Thermos that Saved the Day

First, this is my inaugural post. I’m so glad to be here. I’ve posted as a guest a few times, but to be included as a Filly has been humbling and I’m grateful and thankful.

In case we’ve never met, I write a whole host of things including historical Christian westerns, contemporary romance and romantic suspense, and women’s fiction under the name Teri Blake. I look forward to getting to know you all better.

Great Lakes Light book cover

On Friday, my new book Great Lakes Light will release in the same series as 2 other Fillies, Kit Morgan and Shanna Hatfield. I don’t want to give away too much of this story, but this is a fictionalized account of how the Split Rock Lighthouse came to be. Some aspects of the story are complete fiction, others are drawn from resources (and I offer a complete source list in the back of the book). You’ll want to preorder it before Friday, as the preorder price will go away when it publishes. I just LOVE that my designer was able to use a real image of the lighthouse.

Have you ever read a bit of history and been completely blown away? Such was the case for me. I love my insulated water and coffee tumblers, those metal mugs used to keep drinks warm or cold for hours. Did you know that the first one was created in 1892!! I didn’t either! Even though this is the period I write most often, I’m always blown away by their inventiveness and ingenuity.

Because I was so amazed, I absolutely had to include a Thermos (though it went by various names before settling on that one, as things often do) in this story. And it was perfect because at the time of my story, there was only one store that sold the illustrious thermos and it was in New York. Since the entire middle of the book actually takes place in Washington D.C… a congressman would certainly have access to one…and it just might save him. But you’ll have to read the story to find out how.

Image of original thermos

Interestingly, these containers didn’t come into existence to keep coffee warm for the men working on the huge skyscrapers being built at the time in New York. They were originally created by a mortician who realized he needed to keep chemicals at a stable temperature. The original (used for embalming) thermos, was glass with a vacuum between the two layers. It was his glassblower who realized the commercial prospects, created a patent, and sold it to three US companies.

Do you use a thermos? I have two different one, one for the water I drink all day and one I bought on my last trip to Deadwood, SD that keeps my morning coffee hot. Drop your answer below and I’ll ship out a print copy of Great Lakes Light to one lucky commenter.

Author | Website | + posts

Where western meets happily ever after.

Kari writes swoony heroes and places that become characters with detail and heart.

Her favorite place to write about is the place her heart lives, (even if she doesn't) South Dakota.

Kari loves reading, listening to contemporary Christian music, singing when no one's listening, and curling up near the wood stove when winter hits. She makes her home in central Minnesota, land of frigid toes and mosquitoes the size of compact cars, with her husband of over twenty years. They have two daughters, two sons, one cat, and one hungry wood stove.

59 thoughts on “The Thermos that Saved the Day”

  1. Great history. This is so cool. Things we take for granted these days, we often do not think about what an asset to have something like this back over a century ago.
    Thanks for a wonderful inaugural post.

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    • It’s so true! We take things for granted or just assume things are new when they’ve actually been around for years. We don’t think of all the advancements made during that time, simply because of the sheer volume of them.

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  2. I use an insulated water bottle every day, to keep my water icy cold. It is wonderful to have a cold drink at my fingertips any time I want it.
    I LOVE your books! Would love to have a copy of your Regional Romances. I’ve just finished reading the ARCs for Shanna and Peggy, and would love to read your book also. It’s a great series!

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    • Sherry, Thank you! I hope you enjoyed Shanna’s and Peggy’s! I have a hard time drinking water that isn’t cold, but with this, I can actually drink as much water as I’m supposed to per day…mostly.

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    • I remember my mom using a big one for coffee when I was growing up (a real Thermos brand one with the twist off lid that became a cup). I don’t see those as much now. There are so many brands it’s hard to keep up with which are good and which are not.

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    • I just love them. Being a mom…for the last 17 years I had to get used to drinking cold tea or coffee…because the kids came before my drinks. Now, I can walk away and it’s still hot an hour later. I love it. Since this technology was here since the late 1800s, why didn’t I think to go get one…I think I was sleep deprived. Haha!

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  3. Interesting history on the Thermos. I had no idea a mortician invented it. My dad always carried a Thermos of coffee with him to work, summer and winter, and it always came home empty. Welcome to P&P, Kari and I look forward to learning more about you and your work!

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  4. Welcome Kari! I love to hear the history behind things. Who would have thought, something I use all the time was created to hold embalming fluid lol. I have an insulated bottle I use for keeping my water cold and a Thermos my husband and sons use when they go ice fishing in winter. Your new book sounds like it will be a good one! Lighthouses are always facinating and beautiful!

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    • Thank you, Luanne! When I was looking at images of all the lighthouses on the Great Lakes (there are A LOT) this one just spoke to me and the story behind it just so good I couldn’t pass it up. Plus, it’s only about 4 hours from my house, so bonus research trip!

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  5. I have used many thermoses over the years!! I still have a few, just can’t throw out a good thing!! I find it interesting the things we find out go back further than we think!

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    • I love that. I used one of those when a fellow author friend and I toured through the Black Hills. It was so nice, no matter how warm the car became while we were walking around, to come back to a cold drink!

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  6. What a fun tidbit of history, Kari! To think that we all drink our hot/cold beverages from something originally designed for the mortuary arts. Who knew?

    Love having you join us in the corral, Kari. You’re going to bring such a fresh, fun perspective!

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    • Thank you! I pretty much have my favorites that I wash out daily and just reuse. One tall one for water (and thank goodness you can use a straw with them now) and my mug sized one for coffee/tea.

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  7. A thermos is a must for me. Cold drinks during the heat of the summer and hot tea all winter and fall. I have a few which are lightweight and practical.

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    • I would love a lighter weight one. I’ll have to look. Since I started drinking more water a month ago, I carry this huge 20oz mug and it’s heavy, my hand hurts by the end of the day. At least I’m getting a workout carrying it around.

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  8. Welcome, Kari! One of the reasons I love P&P – besides, of course, all the great books written by all you great authors – is the fascinating bits of history I learn with every column. A thermos used to be that big jug we took on picnics or that heavy metal Stanley thermos I took to work with my coffee in it. Now what would we do without our cup to keep our water cold when we walk or our coffee hot when we read? I have a special carafe that is part of my holiday dish set and I am always eager to use it each year.

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  9. That’s so interesting, I never knew the thermos went that far back! I have a lovely thermos I use for my coffee and I recently bought another one to keep my water cold throughout the day. Thanks for the chance to win, and welcome to the blog!

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  10. This is just fascinating, Kari. My Dad carried one of the old Thermos’s made in the forties with him to work everyday and to the river when we went fishing. It was beat up and ugly but it still to this day keeps things hot. I buy some of these newer ones that are decorative and they don’t hold the heat for 30 minutes. Very frustrating. The Yeti’s are pretty good though but they’re so huge. I don’t like them. Welcome to our family again.

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    • Aw, that’s so awesome! My kids all thought that Thermos only made plastic carafes because that’s all they’ve ever seen. They didn’t even realize the cups they use everyday were thanks to Thermos. Change is an interesting thing.

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  11. Yes, we have a couple of Thermos. Thank you so much for this History lesson, I enjoyed reading it and I sure did learn something! Thank you for sharing this piece of History with us. Have a great week and stay safe. Thank you for the chance.

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  12. What a great history lesson. I am very thankful they figured out how to make them with nonbreakable liners. It was awful to open your thermos of cold milk at school lunch time and discover the glass liner broke sometime between getting on the bus and opening it. The best water bottle we currently have is a Thermos brand. My husband takes it with him everyday on the tractor or to the barn.

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  13. Hi Kari, so glad to have you with us here at Petticoats & Pistols “for real” as our newest member!

    When I was little, and took my lunch to school, those lunch box sets had a thermos in them, but woe to you if you dropped the lunch box or it got handled roughly! That glass would shatter into a million pieces and the thermos was done for. (The voice of experience, more than once, here!)

    My dad worked in the oil fields and a thermos was indispensable for him and his colleagues. I had no idea thermoses had been around so long, nor what their original purpose was. That is really interesting!

    Hugs, Kari! So glad you are here with us now!

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    • Thank you! I’m so glad to be here. I’m going to have to look for a glass lined one now, because my mom’s was metal. I’d bet they broke often enough that they aren’t easy to find.

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  14. I love learning things like this. I had no idea that’s how the Thermos came to be. I remember my dad had a green one that he took to work every day. My husband has one that I put his pot of coffee in every morning so it’s ready when he wants it.

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  15. Welcome to the Junction, Kari. We have a variety of thermoses. Several stainless steel models from skinny to wide mouth for soup or stew. We have one of the big (10 gal. or so) we used with Scouts and 4-H and use when we have “work parties.” I have a vintage thermos from the 1950 – 1960’s still in the box that I got from my aunt’s. They do come in handy when you are on the road or packing a meal.

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  16. Welcome, Kari!! It is so nice to have you in this group. When I was working, I did have a thermos that I would take to work sometimes. Now that I am not working, I do not have a need for a thermos. Thank you so much for the opportunity. God bless you.

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  17. That’s so neat about the Thermos. I have a few thermos type cups and they are all I use when I sub or travel. You have a very pretty book cover!

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  18. What an unusual beginging! The glassblower took out the patents. He would not have had the udea without the mortician consigning the original design.
    Family members or I have used most of those mentioned. Thermoses are great!
    Congratulations on your latext release! As a Michigan girl, Iplove the Great Lakes!

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