Things are heating up

You may have read about the ‘gas crisis’ in the UK – and yes, there have been fights.. I thought I’d ‘lighten’ the mood with a little contribution from my collection on the theme of heating.

First up: The original mascot for the British Gas industry, ‘Mr Therm’! He (or it?) resembled a gas flame and was illustrated by Eric George Fraser (1902 – 1983) in 1931, originally for “Gas Light & Coke Company”. He was later adopted by the British Commercial Gas association on behalf of the wider British gas industry. For the next 40 years, you would see him in cartoon strips, giving DIY tips and he also featured in many publicity items, such as these playing cards by Thomas De La Rue & Company Ltd. from the 1950s. Love the ‘burns to serve you’ slogan!

What about an alternative to gas? In 60s/70s Germany it seems to have been ‘Braunkohle’ (brown coal). A memory game extolling the virtues of an ‘Allesbrenner’ (multi-fuel stove) provides a fascinating glimpse into the mindset of … well, I guess, a marketing team. Unfortunately, I don’t know whether this was for a specific stove company or the coal industry in general (I suspect it’s the latter). It comes across as a simple memory game, neither the box nor any of the memory-cards give any hint as to who commissioned it or who the illustrator(s), designer(s) were. Which is a real shame, as there is quite a variety of styles.

Originally there would have been 50 ‘pairs = 100 cards, the box in my possession has only 37 pairs but they are ‘quite enough’.Here are most of them:

2 memory game cards, each showing a young female sitting next to a multi-fuel stove. Smiling and looking at the camera. 1960s styling
2 lovely ladies showing off the beauty of a multi-fuel stove
7 memory game cards, all illustrations of coal briquette in a variety of comical uses: as locomotive, sled, car, sailing boat, helicopter, motorcycle, and wagon.
various uses of a coal briquette
From top left to bottom right: The modern multi-fuel stove: heats even in the most severe cold; is easy to use (serve has a double-meaning in German); creates comfortable cosiness; ‘In Winter: toasty warmth; suits everyone’s taste. The last image I’m not sure about – is it a briquette on a beach towel – or is it a coffin.?

Whether you use electricity, gas or other means: one thing is certain: Winter is coming – der nächste Winter kommt bestimmt..


Enjoy autumn – there are bound to be some warm days left this year!


  1. Wonderful collection of heating-related images and info there, Wibi.
    I’ve kept an eye on the crises over in the UK, what an utter shambles that government is. Hope everyone can keep warm and stay running this winter!
    The earliest memories I have of heating company slogans is the British Gas ‘Cookability – that’s the beauty of gas’ advertising run. I’m old enough to remember too the parafin heaters we had when we couldn’t afford to run electric or gas.
    Best, Ford

    1. Utter shambles is absolutely right – words fail me, to be honest… Thank you for your kind comment, glad it brought back some memories. All the best, Wibi

  2. Urgh, half a year of winter … I’m not looking forward to that! Wonderful pictures Wibi! Stay warm. If gas fails, I recommend hot water bottles 🙂

  3. I love the little Mr Therm – though I don’t remember seeing it as a child (if it was used up until the 70s I’m definitely old enough 😅)

    And did the House Stark get there ‘Winter is Coming’ mantra from that advertising ?? Maybe they should have used an Allesbrenner against the Night King !!?? 😃

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