A History of Heating: Part 2

A History of Heating: Part 2

Warm air heaters are a privilege of today, so much so we find it hard to imagine they once did not exist. Like all technology and machinery, they have advanced throughout the years.

Continuing from part one, we will take a further look into the history of heating and how has got to where it is today.


The 1800s: Hot Air Systems

Following on from the end of part one, other hot air systems were introduced in the United States before 1820, for larger industrial buildings. The first American centrally heated building was the Massachusetts Medical College in 1816. In 1835, a central heating furnace was invented in Worcester.

As warm air systems relied upon the temperature and density relationship to induce circulation, the suggestion of using an electric fan to boost circulation surfaced after table fans became widely available in the 1880s.

Golden Age of Warm Air Furnaces

The golden age for warm air furnaces was after the Civil War. During 1866 to 1900, dozens of firms had entered the furnace business, as they were considered to be safe and easy to operate, compared to steam heating systems.

By 1900, due to a price war, heating gained a bad reputation. However, in 1905, manufacturers formed the Federal Furnace League to elevate heating systems to the position they deserved. Their efforts culminated in the National Warm Air Heating and Ventilation Association in 1914. This association later produced a series of manuals for appropriate sizing and installation of heating systems.

Introduction of the Fan System

Following the development of warm air systems, a thought which followed was that of using forced hot air. Within the early developments of this idea, forced air systems were used within large buildings and factories.

The large combination of a fan and a heater were referred to as ‘plenum’ or ‘hot blast’ systems. All the early systems would use 100% outside air, with the use of recirculated air not considered until post-1890s.

The first modern heating blower was designed by John Desaguliers in 1735 for the British Houses of Parliament. Throughout England and Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, the blowers had been continually improved, mostly operated by steam trains.

During the turn of the century, the hot blast systems were being equipped with air washers for filtering and humidifying. The popularity of these hot blast systems led to radiator manufacturers developing cast iron heat exchangers. These had an extended surface which could replace the banks of pipe that previously had been used.

Modern World Heating of Today

By the mid-1920s, heating had advanced. Heating devices and systems became affordable and reliable due to the improvements in their efficiency. By 1926, heating had advanced from the campfire to the automatic and reliable heat we know today. We can feel warmth just by turning on the heater.

Here at Heritage Heating and Cooling, we are leading suppliers of warm air heating systems and commercial air conditioning. If you would like to find out more about our services and products, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team today by calling 01509 814 123 or emailing info@heritageheatingandcooling.co.uk and we will be happy to help.

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