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    blog on age of steam systems, P. Linhardt (18 Posts)

  • Dave Meers Dave Meers @ 3:44 PM
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    blog on age of steam systems

    Yesterday was my birthday, which means I'm one year older, which got me to thinking about aging, which got me to thinking about the age of some of the steam systems we work on or live with, which made me go looking in the collection of old steam parts we have here at work. I was looking for a trap or a vent or something with a patent date from 1905. Manufacturers were proud to announce their patent dates back when, sometimes cast into the body, sometimes stamped into a tag. I thought a 100 year old item would be fun to post here. I checked a lot of the museum pieces on display at the sales counter, but couldn't match the '05 date. They were close, but no cigar. I started rummaging through some boxes of items not on display and found a true gem. It is not from 1905, but from 1915. Specifically, Feb. 16, 1915! It is a beautiful radiator handvalve from the C.A. Dunham Co. It has the wooden handle and the nickel finish and the packless design and the internal adjustment to match steam flow to radiator capacity and the patent date proudly displayed below the trademark of that era and the place of manufacture, Marshalltown, Iowa. It has it all, quite a piece of quality construction in amazing shape for being 90 years old. I love this old stuff, and I know some of you do too. Thought I would share this little find and reflect on the age of the equipment. Most steam systems are from 50 to 100 years old now. Not much in geologic years but quite old in technology years. So much changed in the heating industry, but steam heating just kept on chugging along. Steam seemed to fall out of favor for a time, but I think it is enjoying a bit of a rebound lately. Heck, some guys are putting new systems in their own homes while others are lovingly restoring what they have. If this forum is any indication, there are plenty of technicians and homeowners commited to keeping this technology alive, despite its age. Questions and comments always welcome. Best regards, Pat
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO Mike T., Swampeast MO @ 4:50 PM
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    Patent Dates

    Can be deceiving as they're really a "can be as old as" statement. Sounds like you took the extra step of matching the trademark to the time period.
  • Mark Hunt Mark Hunt @ 11:43 PM
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    Happy birthday Pat!

    We do get to see some old stuff. This job can be part heating tech, part archaeologist and part anthropologist at the same time. All that and a pay check too! Mark H To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • patrick linhardt patrick linhardt @ 6:13 PM
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    Indiana Jones?

    Hi Mark, Thanks for noticing I'm older. You make this job sound like it is for a college professor or Indiana Jones. Other days it is like C.S.I., Steamville. Best regards,Pat
  • patrick linhardt patrick linhardt @ 6:08 PM
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    thanks

    Hi Steamhead, Thanks for the birthday wish. The oldest boiler I've seen running is original with a home built in the mid-20's. The owner can easily afford something newer, but loves his old steamer. I'd love to see a pic of your "Royal". Don't you love the old names they gave the boilers? Best regards, Pat
  • Mad Dog Mad Dog @ 6:49 PM
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    Cool - happy birthday Sir!

    Well, my "bundy" radiator in my living room has a patent date of 1874. The Baby bundys have a date of 1885. I love when I see stuff that says: "Patent app'd for." Those folks were blazing ahead - whether they were granted a patent or not...I like boldness like that. Mad Dog To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Christian Egli Christian Egli @ 12:20 AM
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    It's just another year, another century and another millenium

    Happy birthday Pat. Boy, 1874 and still blazing ahead. And to think of it, we were all worried the world would not make it past Y2K. But not the people with steam heat... they knew better. Someone will invent a model of the next "steam dream 3005"
  • Dave Meers Dave Meers @ 2:23 PM
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    1874 was a good year

    Hi MAD DOG! We have a radiator on display at our sales counter with a Sep. 22 1874 patent date, from the A.A. Griffing Iron Co. It has the cast iron base, individual upright columns, and the ornamental cover that fits on top. I've used it as a podium for steam seminars. Gotta love it. Best regards, Pat
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 4:50 PM
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    That's also a \"Bundy\"

    same thing Mad Dog has. Griffing owned the ironworks where it was made. This was common in those days- the equipment had the name of whoever designed it, but it was made in someone else's plant. To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

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  • Boiler Guy Boiler Guy @ 11:01 AM
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    Happy Steaming Pat

    The best find I made was a 1907 dated angle vent which had been discarded bhind a false wall. Don't know whose it is though. Actually it still worked. Now I gotta go find it again. Spring project!!
  • patrick linhardt patrick linhardt @ 6:44 PM
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    \"Bundy\"'s all around

    Hi Steamhead, Thanks for the info. Was "Bundy" the designer? Do you know where he was from? Best regards, Pat
  • John Shea John Shea @ 5:12 PM
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    Happy B-Day Patrick.

    I've been testing a lot of old radiator traps on a webster mod system & some of the elements (Fulton Company?) actually date to the year the building was built - 1922 ! The more amazing part is that they still work!! Some of the newer replacements from the last 10-15 years are shot, however. I share your enjoyment of steam systems!
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 9:45 PM
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    The Fulton Sylphon company

    made those bellows units for Webster. Somewhere I have one of their old catalogs........ To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

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    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • ThermalJake ThermalJake @ 7:47 AM
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    Can you post a picture and describe it? Or do you have it on a web page somewhere? Congradulations! It is a great achievement for you and for us, and for HOs with steam. Jake
    ThermalJake
  • Dave Meers Dave Meers @ 8:15 AM
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    please share

    Hi Walt, Could you share with the class? What is the patent for? Congratulations! I understand that it can be quite a process. Keep on steaming. Best regards, Pat
  • W Deacon W Deacon @ 8:51 AM
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    Patent info...steaming 2005

    Here's a link to the unit description: http://www.maxi-therm.net/images/innovative/vertical_heat/PDF_download/Dwnld__new_vertical_heat_e_28560.pdf And our general site is: www.maxi-therm.net This system is applicable to hospital, dormitory, or district steam loads above 20gpm domestic water, or 1 million BTU's service water (building heat). Before anybody yells at me that flooding a heat exchanger isn't NEW!!! With this system, we are using high pressure steam 50-150 psi, or 10psi if you want. Either way, we can control leaving temperature within +-4F. The steam is in the tubes, and the tubes are narrow, so the steam/condensate interface is very small, and water hammer doesn't happen. Then... by using constant high pressure, we don't need a reducing valve, a relief valve, or a condensate pump. The pipe sizes in and out are about half. With no flash, the central pump lasts longer, there is less make-up, and total energy consumption drops between 5-20 percent. So... we call it "revolutionary" steam management, not because it's new, but because we flipped the control system upside down (revolved, get it?). We use the control valve on the condensate outlet side of the exchanger to control temperature, via the amount of flooding. Now the valve is much smaller too, because it's handling water, not steam. In the pictures, you'll see a temperature regulator and trap. Those are for safety, in case the control valve ever leaks. If you still have doubts, we have almost 100 units installed... everything from universities, to hospitals, to a downtown Holiday Inn, to an IBM plant for building heat. The first engineer to specify it was awarded first place for Excellence in Engineering at ASHRAE two weeks ago for the project that has been running 3 years now. Sorry to run on, but I've had the same objections so many times, that I'm getting good at heading them off ahead of time!
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 10:05 PM
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    I just worked on something about that old

    a steam system with a Hart & Crouse "Royal" sectional boiler #28-5, whose original patent was in the 1890s but was "improved" in 1905 or 1909, can't remember exactly. I'll take my camera next time we go there. Happy birthday, Pat. To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

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    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • W Deacon W Deacon @ 8:37 PM
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    Patents - The more things change...

    Well guys... We just got awarded our US patent number last week FRIDAY. And engineers at ASHRAE were asking us "Why didn't somebody think of this before?" So, it's never too late, IF you have a better mousetrap!!! ...even on steam equipment! Walt Deacon
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