A History of Warm Air Heating: Part 1

A History of Warm Air Heating: Part 1

Warm air heaters are used in places where heating via boilers and radiators simply isn’t an option. They are an essential product within businesses, especially for those who rely on heating of their properties to run effectively and productively.

Warm air heaters today are powered by advanced technology, including intricate systems of vents and air ducts; they are in high demand with many different warm air solutions available.

However, have you ever stopped to think how the warm air heating industry got where it is today? How did it all begin? In this article, we will discuss the first part of the history of warm air heating- where it all began and just how important every step on the journey was to the innovations in technology we utilise today.

The First Ever Warm Air Heating

There is a myth that warm air heating has been around since the year 200 when Emperor Heliogabalus was said to have warm air heating in his palace to heat the air.

This system used a stove which was placed in a brick chamber under the rooms. Outside air was ducted into the chamber under the stove. The heated air was able to flow through into the rooms above.

The first official records of warm air heating dates to the 1200s, which indicate that the city hall in Luneburg in Germany had a central warm air heating system using three furnaces. The heating chamber connected to the rooms above with ducts that opened underneath seating. The temperature was regulated through iron covers over the openings of the ducts. A similar system was said to be in use in another castle – Marburg castle in Germany.

The Industrial Revolution

The industrial revolution paved the way for warm air heating – much like many other things. In around 1805, William Strutt invented a furnace which was made up of an iron air chamber encased in brick. There were a couple of inches between the brick and the iron which allowed the warm air to circulate. Outside the brick, a large space was split into sections (one for cool air and one for heated air). Cool air moved from one chamber through the openings which were heated by the iron furnace; this then moved out through the openings into the heated chamber.

Strutt’s hot air furnaces were commonly referred to as ‘cockle’, Belper’ or ‘Derby’ stoves.

Caloriferes: A Similar Warm Air Heating System

A similar product, also at a similar time; firetube hot air furnaces. These were called caloriferes and were made up of numerous iron pipes placed at a slight pitch through brick faces in a chamber. The cool air entered at one entrance, was heated in the pipes which were exposed to the fiery furnace, then exited into the air.

1821: Advances in Warm Air Heating

In 1821, a more scientific approach emerged, when a professor in Vienna published a book on heating with hot air. He explained the laws of warm air heating and was the first to realise that provisions to draw off the cool air is necessary. The cool air needed to be returned to the furnace for reheating. This is when he began to discuss introducing dampers.

Despite the controversy he caused, and the many debates with stove makers at the time, his principles now underlie all modern warm air heating systems.
Heritage Heating are leading suppliers of warm air heating and much more. Make sure to keep an eye on our blog to find out where warm heating went from 1821 onwards and how we really got to where we are today.

Take a look at Part 2 of this series to learn more. If you’re in need of warm air heating, get in touch with our team!

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