As the weather gets colder, a bulky package will be taken out of closets in many homes across the country — where it has been stored since spring. Inside is an electric blanket, and homeowners will be testing their memories to make sure it’s hooked up correctly. For thousands of years, people used handmade woolen blankets to ward off the cold — and started their evening’s rest with either a bed warmer filled with coals from the fire or a hot-water bottle. Now, we take the easy warmth of electric blankets for granted. The first such blanket went on sale on this date in 1946 in Petersburg, Virginia, at a cost of $39.50. Today, electric blankets are part of the more than $2.5 billion electric housewares industry. Profile America is in its 16th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.
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