Seeking WWII era advise... : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

We have been questioning the purchase of a generator due to the attention it might draw because of the noise. This made me think about lights in the house at night if the rest of the area is dark. Now the question is - Does anyone have knowledge of how black out curtains were made and of what type of material (and of course a source!) Your average curtain allows light to escape and most black material allows light through it because of the weave of the material. I though I saw several months ago something about blackout curtains(maybe just material for) but I haven't been able to relocate the info. Anyone else given thought to this? DIANA

-- DIANA (, November 02, 1998


Black bin-liners are very opaque and easy to pin to the window side of a curtain (or to tape to the window). (I guess they're trashcan liners or trashbags or something like that in the USA)

Not WWII advice, they hadn't been invented then.

Aluminium foil is even more opaque, but less flexible.

-- Nigel Arnot (, November 02, 1998.

Very, very wise to think of blackout. Crooks are not crooks because they're stupid--will reason if you have light, you probably also were prudent enough to stash away useful items, like food. Am planning to use plywood, cut to fit, with thick foam draft (Brit: draught) stripping around edges. Because any tiny chink of light is easily visible when all is dark, even safer to make very shallow "box," so it fits snugly over frame and all. Could get fancy with hinges, other hardware. Or make shutters, line with chintz-covered styrofoam if you really like Martha Stewart stuff. . . Can't use fabric alone--pets, breeze, accidental touching may disturb and blow the deal.

-- Aitch (, November 02, 1998.

Check out the design of warm window curtains (insulated); you can make them yourself, they're multi-layered and insulated (a benefit in the cold), and one style you can make Velcros to the frame. The insulating part of the curtain is like mylar, which I don't expect would let out much light.

-- Karen Cook (, November 02, 1998.

This question immediately brought back some buried memories!

I was only 7 during WWII, but I recall the blackouts. Of course, we had sirens to warn residents of the time of the blackout, as well as CD people patrolling the streets, who would even knock on your door if any light was visible in your home. Our home had these very heavy duty pull-down shades, as I recall, and the windows also had curtains.

But I remember mostly that we went without lights during air raids. I remember this specifically, because those dark times scared the S*** out of me, as well as my two older sisters (only 1-1/2 year separation in age).

This question also caused be to wonder how my family ate during WWII. I do recall that the family did a lot of canning. Had a fruit cellar chuck full of supplies. Remember the older brothers going out to the local farms to pick produce, fruit, etc., and the family busy canning. Ate a lot of potatoes. (Still love potatoes, any way you make them!)

-- JoB (, November 02, 1998.

But, Diana, what are you going to do about the generator noise?

A blacked-out house with a generator running is just about as conspicuous, and more suspicious, than a lighted house with a generator running. How're you going to see folks creeping up on your generator through blackout curtains?

Suggestion: Instead of investing in blackout curtains, get together with your neighbors to plan some sort of resource-sharing. Perhaps arrange to share the generator use, with the next-in-line for the generator standing guard over it.

-- No Spam Please (, November 02, 1998.

If you're in a northern climate the main reason for the curtains is to contain the heat. Black corduroy ($5/yd) blocks most of the light, but you would want to sew it to a layer of mylar ('space-blanket' material) which is even cheaper and a better insulator. However for maximum safety, using plywood window inserts is a good idea or maybe ghetto bars, or all three. Any security system is only as good as your protocol in using it.

-- Jon (, November 02, 1998.

No Spam, The only reason I would want a generator at this point is to run power tools. The supply of 100 hr candles have arrived and cooking is basically decided on and in the works. We are in FL and have a zillion windows, but are trying to pull it together to move a little further north. My neighbors here think we are nuts and the same at church but our pastor finally agreed to have a y2k forum but not til Dec6th and that is with his expert from FL Power that will tell us everything is just fine! Guess they will say the same when the military does it's urban warfare training here next year! Our newspaper today said the economic crisis won't hit our area because we have everything going for us?!? How can I convince people with all that? With no-one preparing, we will standout like a sore thumb! Diana

-- Diana (, November 02, 1998.

Yep, thought about it, and decide that I will have a visible oil lamp. Any place that can be threatened by natural disasters (hurricanes, earthquake, snow or ice storms) -- and this includes most of Canada and the States -- is a logical place for someone to have such a light.

Our local Walmart currently is carrying oil lamps for the wallet breaking price of $5.97. Enough oil for a couple of weeks is an additional $2.97. I added to my supply. As a matter of fact, most years I've placed those silly little electric 'candles' in my windows for Christmas. This year I intend to use oil lamps. Might as well get the neighbors and passers by used to them.......then when I pull them out to use after the "surprise" loss of power in January, 2000, I'll just have made a 'lucky' purchase.

-- rocky (, November 03, 1998.

The local discount bult grocery store (bag your own) is selling the 100 hour votives (the kind used for hispanics religious observations) for 78 cents a piece...a steal, at least in LA/Orange County metro area....

I'm gonna run on very reduced night time lighting...a lot of windows facing the street...(If I am still here which may not be the case)...I know my my neighbors...also will have plywood for boarding them up from the inside, with nails.

Hoping for less than the worst...preparing for it.

-- Donna Barthuley (, November 03, 1998.

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