Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Cedar Closets

Do they still build houses with cedar closets? In fact, only one of the homes I’ve ever purchased has had one and that was a shore cottage. I think it was older than I was and all the aroma of cedar was long gone. For you of the younger generation, one of the plagues of “olden days” was the wool-eating moth. In Northern climes, wool was the primary fabric for winter clothing. During the warmer parts of the year when woolens were stored, they were vulnerable to moths (or the larvae of said moths). The first lines of defense against the holes caused by these hungry, mini-beasts were mothballs and flakes. Both were typically naphthalene and moth families disliked their odor. They usually found other quarters. This was not an altogether satisfactory solution to the problem because come fall, many folks were required to go to work or church in clothes that smelled strongly of something like cold medication.

The elegant solution was a closet lined with cedar wood planking. Apparently, moths were also put off by the somewhat more pleasant, fragrant (to people) odor of cedar.

Modern science has never proved decisively whether the demise of wool caused the demise of moths. In any event, a famine struck the moth population. Despite its best efforts, science has never succeeded in developing a moth species with an appetite for Orlon.

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