The Industrial Revolution Further Spurs Heating Innovation


Hello, and welcome back to the third and final installment of our blog series on the history and evolution of home heating. When we last left off, heating had been refined to the point in Germany that it was starting to resemble the central heating and air units that we have come to know and love. However, because these early systems still relied on the natural flow of air to heat rooms, the were often dependent upon the weather and the available amount of air circulation present in whatever building they were placed in. Luckily for us, a little period known as the Industrial Revolution brought new ways of thinking and innovation to home heating systems.


The First True Warm Air Furnace is Born


William Strutt, an Englishman, invented a warm-air furnace in 1805 that was made up of a wrought iron air chamber that was encased in brick. Strutt left a small amount of space between the iron and the brick which allowed air to circulate around the inner iron casing. The brick encasing the iron was split into two sections, the lowers section used to draw in cool air and the upper section which was used to release the warm air. As cold air moved through the lower part of the casing, it was heated by the iron furnace and then moved through the upper openings of the casing into the heated air chamber. The entire furnace was connected to a duct system that distributed the heated air throughout the house, and the openings of the ducts were fitted with dampers to allow individuals in each room to control the amount of heat that they received from the furnace.


The Furnace Gets a Helping Hand


For the next few decades, these rudimentary furnaces were used worldwide to heat homes, relying on the temperature/density relationship of warm and cold air to cause the warm air to properly circulate. However, with the widespread availability of the electric table fan in the late 1800s, an idea started to float around in the world of the furnace. The first instance of an electric fan being used to force warm air out of a furnace was reported in the late 1800s in Mannington West Virginia. This setup used an electric fan to force the circulation of warm air out of a homemade gas furnace. In the early 1900s, both General Electric and Emerson Electric advertised aftermarket electric fans that could be installed in furnaces to provide better circulation, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that furnaces with fans in them became widely available in the United States.
While this blog series has given only the briefest overview of the history of home heating, we hope that you have learned a little bit more about what it took to achieve the heating marvel that is the modern furnace. Furnaces today are not only quiet and efficient, but they put out enough heat to comfortably warm even the largest of homes. In order to make sure that your furnace is working properly this winter, please contact us today at EcoLife Home Comfort. Our furnace experts will come out to inspect your home’s furnace to ensure that it will not fail you during the cold Toronto winter. If it turns out that your furnace is in perfect working condition, we also offer furnace cleaning services to remove unwanted dust and debris from your furnace and ducts. Whatever your need, we have the experience and passion needed to ensure that your furnace is performing to the best of its ability. Don’t get left out in the cold this winter, contact us today.