wood burningHeating is one of the basic needs of humankind. From the earliest fires set by primitive man to the sophisticated heat pump inverter systems of today, heating systems have evolved through the years and responded to the source of fuel or power available. Here we pick up from the earliest stoves that are still popular today as supplementary heating and centre pieces in rooms.

Ben Franklin created one of the first heat stoves. He knew fireplaces lost a lot of heat through the back and side walls and created a freestanding cast iron box. Later known as the Franklin stove, it was made in the early 1700’s. He placed the stove in the centre of the room, thereby distributing the heat evenly throughout.

The original stove designed in the early 1700’s by Ben Franklin had a fatal flaw – it vented smoke from the bottom of the stove and did not draw in any air! This total failure of a product was given a new lease of life when a man called David Rittenhuse added a long “L” shaped stovepipe to create airflow through the fire and vent smoke up to a wall chimney. By 1790, the stoves were in common use improving the lives of many. Stoves of this type are still common in homes 200 years later.

A new style of stove was being developed during this time. These had the capacity for use as an oven and as a heating source.The smoke passed around the ends of the oven and out through a stovepipe. This kind of stove led to the design and build of the parlour stoves of the Victorian era. The stoves were used in almost every home, business, and school. They used either wood or coal. The designs became very elaborate especially for those stoves in public buildings such as libraries and town halls.

Wood stoves were preferred as wood was plentiful and free in many cases and of course burned more cleanly. The dilemma was that coal was more efficient and half a ton of coal produced as much energy as two tons of wood. City dwellers tended to use coal, as it was easy to obtain than wood and there was significant coal mining in the UK at the time. Most houses built at the time and right up until the 1950’s and 60’s had cellars, storage buildings, or coalholes where the coal would be deposited from the street.

An alternative source of fuel during the 19th century was peat or turf especially in England and Ireland, where it was plentiful. In Ireland, many homes burn peat although not much is transported home from the bog by donkey cart these days!

The first electric heater patented in 1892 was heavyweight and crude but by 1912 it had developed to become lightweight and reliable and the portable heater was born.

Modern central heating systems warm the whole house and heat water at the same time. Energy efficient and easy to use with thermostatic controls some of the latest technologies are eco friendly too. We have a full range of heating options for your home, office or business premises and welcome your enquiry to answer your queries and give you the benefit of our experience.


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