Our family’s automotive parts store business on Valleyview Street in Oneonta was no place to be if you wore a short-sleeve shirt to work in January 1974. The thermostat was turned back, and putting on a sweater or sweatshirt was the clothing of necessity for doing business during the first energy crisis of that era. Some businesses closed due to energy costs locally and nationally, while others got started that month. At home or at work, local residents were finding ways to save energy and its high cost at the time.
The Oneonta Star began a contest that month called “Energy Line.” Readers could write a suggestion to save energy on a letter or post card, and the weekly winner received $5 for the best idea. The contest was first advertised in the Jan. 3 edition, and it lasted into March.
The first winner was published on Jan. 14 from William Fanning of Jefferson, who came up with nine ideas saying, “These are nothing more than common sense.”
“When making your morning tea,” Fanning wrote, “measure the water which goes into the kettle. Most people boil up to two quarts of water to make a four ounce cup of tea. Boiling 2 quarts of cold tap water consumes approximately 824,000 calories of heat energy, while boiling 4 ounces of the same tap water only consumes 51,500 calories of heat energy.”
“Do not refrigerate heat! A gallon of freshly prepared soup contains numerous heat calories. Most people refrigerate such items prematurely. Allow heated food to cool to room temperature before refrigeration.”
A more unique idea was a winner, published on Jan. 28 from Mrs. William VanBenschoten of Andes.
“Start a goose farm. The down of a goose is warmer in bedding than any electric blanket. What good is an electric blanket in a brown-out?”
“Roasted goose can be eaten hot or cold — it rivals the best high-priced beef.”