The History and Revolution of Home Heating Systems

First there was Fire

And though better than having no heat at all, an open fire pit does not provide much heat. Over time inventive early homo sapiens moved the fire into their caves and other dwellings. This was an improvement, but still most of the heat generated by the fire went up with the smoke. More improvement was needed.

history bookChimneys and Stoves

Chimneys had vast advantages over open fires. They contained the smoke so its heat could be redirected to warm parts of the dwelling outside the immediate area of the fire; they were more efficient so that more warmth was generated from the fuel; and they created less interior disarray.

However, they were still a poor way to heat large areas.

Stoves developed slowly, from masonry construction, to adding metal parts for directing and containing the heat, to gradually be made entirely of metal.

The obvious advantages of metal stoves include that the metal is warmed by the fire and helps disperse warmth, the fire is contained in a smaller area using less fuel for better heating results and small stoves could be added to existing structures easily in a way a large fireplace with chimney could not.

There are even historic examples of dwellings that used vents or crude piping to distribute the heat from stoves or fires to areas quite distant from the heat source. Still, there were better things to come.

Welcome Hot Air Heating

In the early 1800s, riding the excitement of the Industrial Revolution, engineers and craftsmen of various kinds began implementing inefficient means of piping or distributing air warmed by a heat source throughout buildings.

These methods were generally expensive, inefficient and without strong scientific or technical foundation.

In 1821, Professor Dr. Paul Meissner of the Vienna Polytechnical Institute, Vienna, Austria published what came to be recognized as the definitive work on warm air heating.

The treatise in which he described and supported his understanding of heating through warm air was roundly criticized by many, particularly those interested in continuing their own special brand of warm air heading, none of which conformed to what came to be understood as the 'laws of warm air heating' as described in his work.

Modern Heating: Paying Tribute to Pioneers

Based primarily on the work of poor, maligned Dr. Messner, the heating industry grew and expanded. Steam heating, hot water heating, boilers, registers, radiators and forced hot air have all been tried in turn.

In our day, Stanton houses have many different heating methods and advocates can argue for hours over their relative advantages. No matter what method your Stanton home has, its roots are in an open fire pit used by our grandparents long, long ago.

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