View Full Version : Old gas-fired radiator

08-18-2007, 11:18 AM



I hope this isn’t too OT, or too boring.

Old cast iron radiators are worth a look, being good examples of the iron founders’ art, but I noticed that this one was gas fired. Actually two radiators side by side. Burners at the bottom, with a hinged access flap with a patterned glass window.

Made by Fletcher, Russell, ‘Gas Engineers and Artistic Ironfounders’ of Palatine Works, Widerspool Causeway, Warrington, England, in the days when gas stoves were built like safes rather than flimsy tin boxes. I think there was a happy medium in about 1963.

08-18-2007, 11:42 AM
Old cast iron radiators are worth a look

These often clanged, with water hammer I guess. Are they still in use in older houses in UK?

08-18-2007, 01:01 PM
Since you brought it up I have a British gas related questions.
In a lot of the old movies and TV shows they show coin operated gas meters in homes ect. And the party depositing coinage into the meter.
Are they still doing it that way?
How often did they collect the coins?
And did they have a set time the owner had to be there so they could empty the coin box?
And how long did the meter stay pumping gas for the money put in?
What about the pilot light on the appliances or did they have to be hard light each time?
And could you load the meter up for over night or did some one have to get up to feed the meter!
Sort gives new meaning to meter maid/man and feed the meter!:D

08-18-2007, 04:28 PM
Not still doing it that way if the user has to have a prepay meter they use a electronic key that has to be charged with cash at a shop otherwise its just read supposedly 4 times a year and then you pay the bill.
I cant remember how often they emptied the meter but they did take higher coinage values the two bob or the shilling, this would last some time as in the days of the prepayment meter not many houses had gas central heating and would only have used it for cooking or lighting!
If you had a pilot light it went out as there was no over run allowed it just cut out.
As the amount of gas was set to an arbitrary value when the money was emptied the user would get a rebate which I think relected the changes in gas prices.
The meter would accept quite a lot of prepayment so you would not have to get up to feed it (always supposing you had the money)
The only problem people had was that you had to have the correct coinage to hand, I can remember neighbours knocking on the door to ask for change for the meter.
Gladly its now a thing of the past, the meter reader does not have to knock as the meter is now outside!!

08-18-2007, 04:39 PM
I have been reading up at http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/index.html

Them boys will bust up stuff like that and turn it into soup.

08-18-2007, 05:01 PM
Thanks for the answers, as it has been a question is search of answers for longer than I care to admit. Never seemed to remember to ask anybody on theses boards from across the pond till it was posted today. And yes door knocking in the middle for the correct change:D Could be a pain.
We had one of the English Aladdin's safe burning heaters the ole man paid big bucks for for camping as the were used to heat the homes rooms without outside venting and deemed safe for overnighting (sleeping).

08-18-2007, 05:23 PM
I've got two alladins that resemble radiators .

can be seen here on this site, when the site is up and running


think they are called series-seven

all the best...mark

08-18-2007, 05:30 PM
Only trouble with the parafin heaters is they produced a lot of water so you get heat and possible damp!!

08-18-2007, 06:14 PM
Only trouble with the paraffin heaters is they produced a lot of water so you get heat and possible damp!!

they may produce water ...but

its all about dew point

you heat your building 24/7 with one ....and the whole building will warm up.

all the surfaces go above dew point and you don't have a condensation problem...

so a 2.5 kilowatt one will heat a fair size house .left on 24/7 will heat the house very adequately ...try 25 degrees c...no getting up out of bed to put a dressing gown on etc..and be very frugal when compared to gas electric ,coal or whatever ...these heaters these days are over 99% efficient ..buying in bulk is were the saving is.

i speak from experience ...

but now moved on to almost zero cost waste oil central heating.

now if i could only make electricity with waste oil ..that would be better.

is there anyway you can turn heat into electricity without having moving parts.

all the best...mark

08-18-2007, 07:51 PM
I’m glad ptjw7 chipped in with the answers. (That wouldn’t be Pedro Tabatha Jerome Whistler VIIth who owes me 1 shilling and eight pence for fish and chips from my apprentice days, would it?).

Ptsideshow (that wouldn’t be a relation of Sideshow Bob would it?)’s searching questions provoked an interesting dinner table discussion which served to reveal how poor our memories were. I thought I’d have to resort to Plan B, ask the old buggers in the pub. As it turned out, they were no use (see memory failure, above). One expression I recall from the old days, used by women who let the stoicism slip and admitted they were troubled by ‘nerves’, was ‘I’ll stick me ‘ead in’t’ gas oven’. Coal gas, in those days, you know. Toxic, you see. The gas works was only about 2 miles away, and the coal about 5 miles north and half a mile down. Hence the refund, probably

Anyway, I can’t fault what ptjw7 said. I do recall the Gas Man with his leather satchel full of heavy money, taking shillings out of the meter, carefully counting them out and giving my Mum a refund. As for the pilot lights, I don’t think we had any. Lots of matches, though. ‘Swan Vestas’, ‘Captain Webb’, and packets with a picture of an ancient battleship, branded ‘England’s Glory’. Made in Sweden. Ah, nostalgia. Not what it used to be, mind.

I’ll finish with this old gas oven (see ‘built like a safe):-


08-18-2007, 08:06 PM
now if i could only make electricity with waste oil ..that would be better.

is there anyway you can turn heat into electricity without having moving parts.

all the best...mark

Yes-- Bi-metal, often called a thermocouple or thermopile. It's just not practical, size, expense. Then you would want an inverter, so by the time you have jacked it up to a usefull voltage there won't be enough current to do any work.


Peter S
08-19-2007, 06:34 PM
Asquith or others,

Any ideas how the gas-fired radiator worked? Would the radiator actually contain water (or oil?), if so, how would it be kept full? Maybe a header tank or pipe? I can't imagine anything that allows it to become a pressure vessel, nor an open-topped radiator which steams away....

I have only seen household radiators overseas, I think they use a seperate water heater and pump and circulate to several radiators. I can't figure out how the gas-fired version would work though.

BTW, have been reading about Hugo Junkers - after setting up his own company in the late 1800's, he patented a water heater which apparently sold well. Also cooling and ventilation systems, along with his more well-known opposed-piston gas engines, and then later aircraft and aero engines. I don't know anything about the water heaters, but wouldn't be surprised if they are well-known in Germany. Where are those German members? :)

I like the bottle gas-fired "califonts" (sp?) found in old un-modernised French houses - you turn on a tap and there is a dull "woomph" from nearby and hot water starts to flow. You can have very hot water in small amounts or warm water at full flow...

Getting back to nice foundry work - some of the nicest stoves I have ever seen are at the Henry Ford museum. As you would expect, Henry collected the best, and there are some really beautiful examples.

08-19-2007, 07:06 PM

These didn't use water - just a gas flame heating air, so presumably there was some sort of chimney at the top.

08-19-2007, 07:22 PM
Getting back to nice foundry work - some of the nicest stoves I have ever seen are at the Henry Ford museum. As you would expect, Henry collected the best, and there are some really beautiful examples.

Well they are probably gone now as "The Ford" as it is called now had to thin out all their collections to maintain space for the culturally relevant items. Meaning most of the steam traction engines and such from the same era got sold off. Granted alot of stuff was donated to the museum. By good hearted people hoping their collections wouldn't end up in a private collection.
So don't count on any museum keeping anything other than the money they can get form your bequeath.
They are keeping only the most important examples of items.:D

08-20-2007, 10:08 AM
The gas fires have disappeared due to the very poor safety record of them as the fire was effectively burning in the room it heated the room volume had to be high with adequate ventilation which negated the haeting efficiency.
I seem to remember them from railway station waiting rooms in which people didnt wait long enough to be overcome by CO fumes.
They tried to make a comeback using a balanced flue system but even that did not last, just not as good as central heating.

08-20-2007, 10:44 AM
is there anyway you can turn heat into electricity without having moving parts.

Bi-metal thermocouples work but are terribly inefficient and will never be a practical way to do it except in very special circumstances such as thermostat self generation.

There is another way that does have applications and is efficient enough to be worthwhile as a multi amp class generator. The common peltier module that is used to heat and cool in Koolatron devices is reversable. I you provide a temperature gradient across such a module it will generate electricity. There exist such modules with operating temperatures up to around 600 to 700 degrees F.

I have an engineering sample that one of these days I am going to use to make a portable power source for charging batteries that also serves as a cook pot. The peltier would be in a double bottom of the pot with the fire serving as the hot side and the boiling water as the cold side. As long as it has water in it it cannot exceed the temperature at which water boils so the module is protected. Not only does it serve to make your tea and porridge while camping but can charge your camcorder battery from a jack in the handle.

I never got around to making the prototype as it was shoved to the back burner because of my medical problems that have made it impossible for me to continue wilderness canoeing.

08-20-2007, 10:51 AM
They tried to make a comeback using a balanced flue system but even that did not last, just not as good as central heating.

I heat my house with a 65,000 btu convection furnace in the basement. It uses no electricity and has a B-vent exhaust up the flue. It is over 80 percent efficient and has the major advantage of continuing to operate with the power off.

08-20-2007, 12:46 PM
Heat-to-electricity ...with no moving parts.

There must be a method no one has even thought of yet ...me thinks ...
they have come up with
light-to-electricity ...very poor at first ...but getting better every day.

Maybe it will be some heat reactive chemical ...no one knows about yet ...or even a chemical that emits lots of light when heated up ...which can be turned into power by photo cell ..

you betcha ...there is someone out there working on this, somewhere in the world.

Another question ...do know them hand warmer bags of liquid that turns solid when a clicker is operated.

Are there any applications for this to use as instant central heating for homes ....yes i know heat has to be put into the stuff in the first place ...

But imagine, if you had car engines cooling systems full of it ....for the likes of you Evan, often stuck in below freezing conditions ...would be a god send .

this would save the world a lot of money and carbon emissions

all the best.mark

Alistair Hosie
08-20-2007, 01:02 PM
paraffin gives off a gerat deal of water in its process of burning and also its smells the house out.It's terribly bad for your eyes too, makes them water when you are exposed to it too long.It's the kind of thing we used here during ww2 :D don't even use it for your workshop unless you want to invite rust Alistair