Maker Mayhem: Low Moments in How-To History, Part 9


When I was growing up (1960s Ohio), my dad had hunting dogs that always lived outdoors unless temps dipped below zero. He had two 100w bulbs installed in each doghouse to help combat the cold, but they were in the ceiling. So yeah, I can see that the “bulb in the floor” idea might be potentially bad news. But back then, the light bulb concept of pet heating (dogs, chickens, etc.) wasn’t that uncommon.


Here’s how they do it in the 21st Century, Gloomy Gus.

I’m curious what your source is for these vintage maker projects that you mock in your Maker Mayhem posts - old Popular Mechanics, Popular Science or Mechanix Illustrated magazines?

(edited to remove extraneous word)


It’s sort of silly to assume you can weatherproof a house and not weatherproof a doghouse.


When I was a kid, we took one of those electric water pipe warming strips, wound it around a large piece of cardboard, put it under my dog’s blanket, and plugged it in. This was on a screened-in porch, so rain wasn’t an issue, and she was never a cord biter. She seemed to like it, until she found a path under the house where she could get near the floor furnace (the only source of heat in this 2-story pre-statehood home). That become her winter sleeping spot.


Snarky hipster jerk, here’s a making mayhem body mod for you: wet your sack and press it to a cold freezer shelf for a minute or two (think Ralphie and the flagpole) then yank. There will be plenty of things that you think are the coolest now that will be ripe for mocking in a surprisingly short number of years. It’s easy for you to mock those projects when you don’t seem to understand the time period context.


I understand I am substantially different from other readers, but this is my dog house. My family and in-laws used heat lamps in outside locations, but I won’t.

Our two Akitas also.

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I think maybe your next maker project should be a homemade stress ball.

Perhaps Matt Maranian could have checked over those plans one more time before mocking it quite so roundly. It seems pretty clear to me that the dog never comes in contact with the sheet metal… there’s a soft flooring material (sponge rubber) between the metal and the dog.

There’s also some sort of unstated assumption in the mockery that if submerged, the electricity feeding those 40-watt bulbs would somehow decide that the most efficient way to ground would be to travel up through the water to the sheet metal, somehow make it through the sponge rubber, travel through the dog, back through the sponge rubber, through the sheet metal, back into the water, and thence to the other contact in the bulb socket. Electricity only works like this if a) there’s a hell of a lot of electricity, and/or b) you’re a character in a video game or movie.

If you don’t unplug it when the summer comes, you’re not going to roast your dog. Dogs, traditionally, have these things called “legs” that allow them to move from a place that’s too warm to a place that’s less so. And if two 40-watt bulbs are making it too hot inside the doghouse, I’m guessing that conditions outside probably aren’t at dog-freezing levels, unless those doghouse walls are made of some incredibly insulative material and the door is sealed shut. Remember, every time the dog goes in or out, a substantial amount of heat exchange will take place.

Yes, it’s true that the plans have an implicit “we’re assuming that you, the builder, are not a complete moron when you build, place, and operate this doghouse” attitude, but there certainly doesn’t appear to be anything here that calls for this level of scorn.


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