Efflorescence, old newspapers, and atomic spies

So I’ve been huffing and puffing about this old brick in my fireplace for a couple weeks now. You see it’s slowly being covered with these white patches on the exposed brick.

No, it’s not mold. I know this because I already had that minor heart attack when I saw the same splotches on the exterior walls in our basement. After obsessively googling and scraping away at the walls, I’ve determined our masonry has efflorescence, which is basically just salt deposits surfacing from porous material.

A dead giveaway of efflorescence if the way it sheds a sparkly dust when you scrape it with something. Efflorescence also dissolves in water whereas mold will not.

No biggie. It’s fine. They make cleaner for it and I figure I’ll use it on our fireplace since we actually see it every day but today we found a surprise when John started to tear out the old particle board from the fireplace insert.

At some point in the 1950s the owners decided to brick up our fireplace rendering it useless (I’m fine 🥺) and in the process they must have packed it with old newspapers. Although very brittle, they were a nice little surprise on this otherwise boring Wednesday.

We’re guessing this paper is from sometime in 1953 judging by the article on the Rosenberg’s (Atomic Spies) ☝🏼

We’re total nerds so we thought it was cool.

Here’s to hoping we unearth some more surprises in our old Craftsman to go along with the old newspapers, dirty brick, and the huge pile of coal still waiting to be used at the bottom of our coal chute.

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