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papo_308
Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2018 3:57:32 PM
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Hi,
could you please tell me what "smudgepot" means in the following sentence?

....Witcham Street was blocked to motor traffic by smudgepots and four orange sawhorses.

I've found a definition of "smudge pot" in TFD as

"A receptacle in which oil or another smoky fuel is burned to repel insects or to protect an orchard from frost."

but it doesn't make much sense here.
I'd rather say they're some heavy blocks that can't be removed easily.

[Stephen King: It]
thar
Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2018 4:41:06 PM

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I do not speak from experience here - smudgepots are not part of Icelandic farming techniques! (We have hot water instead, so no need to burn stuff)

I think smudgepot is a pretty specific term - I don't think it refers to anything else, although maybe Americans will know better.

But I would guess that although smudge pots can be a special design with a chimney, you can also just use a big metal barrel to burn your fuel!

If it is Stephen King, presumably weird things are happening and this is not an official road block - so maybe people just used what they could get their hands on, including big metal barrels, which the narrator identifies as smudgepots.

eg
I think this image is from vineyard in England (West Sussex).
Yes, they make very good wine in England. Just not all the time, because you need a long growing season. Angel



This seems to be more fire than smoke,though, so not so much a smudgepot as a brazier!
NKM
Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2018 11:09:29 PM

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A small smudgepot may be used to produce smoke (and presumably a visible flame) as a traffic signal, marking a road hazard or the scene of an accident.

(Flares are more common, but I think smudgepots are sometimes used because they last longer.)

palapaguy
Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2018 11:45:06 PM

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Yes, it really is a "thing," but I had to Google it.

https://www.google.com/search?q=smudge+pot&oq=smudgepot&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0j69i61j0l3.24504j0j4&client=ubuntu&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
papo_308
Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2018 6:08:17 AM
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Location: Velké Meziříčí, Vysocina, Czech Republic
Thank you, Thar, NKM and Palapaguy for your remarks. So it really seems to be a variant of what is used in vineyards.In the article provided by Palapaguy, I found this (as NKM said):

Prior to the development of battery-powered safety blinkers on saw-horses, many highway departments used small oil-burning safety pot markers to denote work zones, and many railroad systems still rely on oil-fired switch heaters, long tubs of fuel with a wick, that fits between the ties and keeps snow and ice from fouling the points of a switch.

It's a bit unusual for me to imagine such a thing on a road. I know that fires are used also in vineyards here on clear cold nights, but as far as I can judge from some pictures on TV, they're just open fires. I must ask about it when I see some colleagues from our office in South Moravia.


Romany
Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2018 7:46:00 AM
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Interesting.
The only smudge pots I'm familiar with are very small. People burn different kinds of herbs and leaves in them to ceremonially "cleanse" a house.

Once they were the sole province of Hippies and New Age people; but now that various Eastern ideologies about placement of furniture etc. have become mainstream, so have smudgepots become part of many households.

I was trying to imagine these little pots burning along a highway, and wondering what on earth good they could do there!
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2018 11:11:54 AM

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When I was growing up, smudge pots were very common on roadways to indicate some kind of problem, or to give warning to motorists of danger.

They were small, and put off a black smoke to attract attention. This one is similar to the kind I am familiar with but emits a flame rather than black smoke.


Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2018 12:26:01 PM

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I only ever knew smudge-pots for insect repellent purposes in orchards - very little flame and lots of smelly smoke. "Smudge" to me indicates a dark 'fuzzy' mark, so it fits well.

I suppose that, if they improvised with saw-horses as barriers, they could use smudge-pots as alarm signals.
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2018 7:46:21 PM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:

I only ever knew smudge-pots for insect repellent purposes in orchards - very little flame and lots of smelly smoke. "Smudge" to me indicates a dark 'fuzzy' mark, so it fits well.

I suppose that, if they improvised with saw-horses as barriers, they could use smudge-pots as alarm signals.


You are right. Saw-horse barriers were used together with smudge pots.
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