Thread Number: 51068  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Old heating stuff
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Post# 733990   2/9/2014 at 13:41 (1,684 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Does anyone live or work in a building that has either original or just plain old HVAC stuff? The oldest I ever lived in growing up dated back to the 50's. My apt in NOLA had the original boiler from 1929 which was neat. I would love to see pictures of any of the old stuff, heat, air, power panels, etc.

Post# 733997 , Reply# 1   2/9/2014 at 14:17 (1,684 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        

Ypu are talking my language, I used to be a oil burner serviceman back in the 80s, my hometown is full of older furnaces,mostly Delco Heat, York, Waterbury,or Lennox,some Iron Fireman,and once in a while you would see an Esso or something equally as odd like a Texaco Fuel Chief, but the oddest of all, and most technologically advanced for its day would be a General Electric boiler with the low pressure oil burner, these gave well over 80 percent efficency ratings in the 30s 40s and 50s and were known to cut fuel bills in half, not many left now because very few people know how to work on them, they have a control system similar to a washer timer!!but nothing and I mean nothing burns as clean or runs as quietly, If I was lucky enough to have one I would do almost anything to keep it running....and I know how to set one up, I was taught by two old time furnace men, also I loved working on pot type burners such as were found in some floor furnaces and oil burning heaters..oh for he days of cheap oil!!!

Post# 733999 , Reply# 2   2/9/2014 at 14:45 (1,684 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

A friend bought a house that still had an Iron Fireman coal feeder in the basement. Sadly the furnace was gone. Most of the old homes here in mid/so GA were heated with coal. Mostly hot air but some boilers. My house was heated by 4 fireplaces and a kitchen stove all of which burned coal. But I would be facinated to watch a coal feeder keeping the gravity circulation octopus at just the right temp!

Post# 734014 , Reply# 3   2/9/2014 at 15:50 (1,684 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Go to

You Tube and look up Coal Stoker, their are several people that have videos of them running.

Post# 734055 , Reply# 4   2/9/2014 at 17:19 (1,684 days old) by polkanut (Wausau, WI )        

polkanut's profile picture

Here is a link to RickR's pics of his 1941 Lennox furnace, and an operating cost estimate from 1946.  Scroll down to Reply #239177


Post# 734076 , Reply# 5   2/9/2014 at 18:46 (1,684 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Polka, thanks for posting that thread, I had forgotten all about it. Now if we could get some members who live in the city to sneak down to the basements of their buildings and snap pix that would be awesome. I bet someone lives in a building being cooled by steam!

Post# 734123 , Reply# 6   2/9/2014 at 21:06 (1,684 days old) by dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

Our house was built in 1950, but the furnace (Which I am almost certain was a gravity furnace, judging by the placement of registers and cold air returns), was replaced about 1990. The placement of the hot air registers is terrible for a forced air system, but would have been just fine for a gravity system. A friend of mine a couple blocks over has a house built in the 50's and it still has the original gravity furnace. Our house does still have some of the original wiring, which by today's standards is very inadequate and probably dangerous (No ground wires and cloth insulation, screw in fuses, only 50 amp service into the box). We have made a few changes to the wiring, mostly to replace worn out outlets or rearrange a couple circuits, but the wiring itself seems to be in good shape. It would be nice to upgrade to modern wiring, because we have to be careful about what can be run where (No microwave, toaster, or coffee maker on when the dishwasher is running, Nothing on the east side of the house when both the washer and dryer are on, etc... We blew a main cartridge fuse last summer (of course at 8pm on a sunday night!), and drove all over town trying to locate a replacement, we now keep a spare. Not such a big deal now that we know our limits.

Post# 734724 , Reply# 7   2/12/2014 at 10:34 (1,681 days old) by Davey7 (Chicago)        
1926 Heggie-Simplex Boiler

Here's the inside of a 1926 Heggie-Simplex boiler (complete with comfy padded cushion).

Post# 734790 , Reply# 8   2/12/2014 at 16:01 (1,681 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Davie, neat pic. Any idea how big it was? What was it used in?

Post# 734792 , Reply# 9   2/12/2014 at 16:14 (1,681 days old) by retromania (Anderson, SC )        
Coal Stoker

The place were I live originally had a coal stoked furnace. Then an oil furnace and finally gas. The auto stoker parts are still in my cellar.

Post# 734808 , Reply# 10   2/12/2014 at 18:00 (1,681 days old) by robinsondm ()        

My house was built in 1912, and it's still heated by a Bryant tubular gas boiler. Bryant invented this type of boiler in 1908, so it's possible ours is the original boiler for the house. I don't have time to post a picture now, but will try to do so later. If anyone has tips on dating an old boiler like this, please let me know. Thanks.

Post# 734891 , Reply# 11   2/13/2014 at 00:31 (1,681 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

My workplace used to have two older Cleaver-Brooks boilers installed in the early 60's loved that "Flame in the Hands "logo Cleaver-Brooks used.Now they are replaced with two newer Cleaver Brooks boilers made from Canada.Don't have pictures of the old ones-they did have charactor to them-and a window so you could watch the flames-the new ones don't have that.the old ones had 1hp 3ph 208V motors to run the blower and fuel pump-the new ones have a single phase half hp 120V motor.Liked the older ones better.

Post# 734951 , Reply# 12   2/13/2014 at 10:54 (1,680 days old) by Davey7 (Chicago)        
What was it used in?

You mean what IS is used in, still chugging and thrumming away!

Here's a view looking down into the boiler chamber. It's only partially below grade. It heats an 8 story apartment house. It's really oversized - the big insulated "box" to the very left was a heat exchanger which originally provided domestic hot water. It was oil fired originally, I think we switched over to gas in 1971 (when heating in Chicago was switching over from coal in smaller buildings).

Post# 735035 , Reply# 13   2/13/2014 at 17:51 (1,680 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Davie, very cool! That's when things were made to last. (ps. get ready for spoil sport to complain about asbestos!)

Post# 735038 , Reply# 14   2/13/2014 at 17:57 (1,680 days old) by Davey7 (Chicago)        
I'm not asbestos... That's why.

What, don't you like mesothelioma? The loose stuff's been abated and the rest left in place, as it should be.

The new stuff is what's giving us trouble (in fact, its not that its new, it's that its the wrong stuff, really) rather than the old stuff. But there are problems with the old stuff too, just less.

Post# 735067 , Reply# 15   2/13/2014 at 20:00 (1,680 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Davey, there is a TV station here that plays the "My name is Doug and I have mesothelioma" commercial over and over again. It drives me crazy!

Post# 735199 , Reply# 16   2/14/2014 at 09:24 (1,679 days old) by Davey7 (Chicago)        
TV Commercial

Yes, I think I've seen that here too.

Post# 735224 , Reply# 17   2/14/2014 at 12:47 (1,679 days old) by Travis ()        
That commercial was just on...

Blame the ambulance chasing lawyers for that one.

Post# 735235 , Reply# 18   2/14/2014 at 14:34 (1,679 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        

Yes, its dangerous...But only if you disturb it! If everyone would let it be, they wouldnt have trouble.I mean, Why on earth take up an asbestos tile floor, it has tons of wax on it, and is hurting no one, its much worse to go chipping it up, same with asbestoscell covered boiler pipes, if you let them alone they are fine.

Post# 735250 , Reply# 19   2/14/2014 at 16:50 (1,679 days old) by Davey7 (Chicago)        
Also don't forget...

That there are different kinds of asbestos - the longer fiber version (naturally occuring) isn't as harmful for inhalation.

Post# 735251 , Reply# 20   2/14/2014 at 16:54 (1,679 days old) by Davey7 (Chicago)        
More pics

Here's a shot looking up at the, I assume, former heat exchanger.

Post# 735253 , Reply# 21   2/14/2014 at 17:07 (1,679 days old) by Davey7 (Chicago)        
And another

Front of the boiler...

Post# 735261 , Reply# 22   2/14/2014 at 18:47 (1,679 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
General Electric Oil Furnace!

Here is a picture, from the mid 30s until 1958 when GE discontinued the line for a cheaper design, this was thee oil furnace, this is a boiler, but they made hot air models as well, the whole mechanism was ran by what they called a "master Control" basically a washer timer, these had many fine safety devices such as a flue pressure switch, if for any reason there was a delayed ignition or too much oil entered ,it shut the furnace down instantly, as far as I know, no oil furnace today has such a device, the burner was a low pressure burner, the flame shot down from the top, air was induced from the bottom so the flame floated, my hometown still has a bunch of these in it, but most have been converted to high pressure burners because of scarcity of parts, but for highly efficent oil burning, these were unbeatable, in the days when many oil furnaces were delivering 50 to 70 percent efficency, these were doing 80 to 85 percent, the flue connection comes out at the rear, right down at the floor.And QUIET!!!! They dont make any more noise than a clothes dryer, if that much.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO norgeway's LINK on eBay

Post# 735262 , Reply# 23   2/14/2014 at 18:49 (1,679 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        

I printed the whole page, look at the picture postcard, that gives you an idea ho small the units were.

Post# 735267 , Reply# 24   2/14/2014 at 19:28 (1,679 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

wayupnorth's profile picture
The neighbors next to us growing up had one of those GE hot water boilers. I thought it was strange that GE had anything to do with a flame as they were all electric I thought. They never seemed to have any problems with it and their house was always warm this time of year. We had a converted coal to oil octupus that my father refused to replace and we froze because all the vents were in the center of rooms. Finally the heat exchanger went (no carbon monoxide detectors then) and my mother threatened him with the black soot out of the vents and he finally replaced it with a Sears Homart and moved the vents properly to the outside walls. We were much more comfortable after that

Post# 735268 , Reply# 25   2/14/2014 at 19:30 (1,679 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Norgeway, are these the units that found their way into the "Levitown" type house?

Post# 735304 , Reply# 26   2/14/2014 at 22:00 (1,679 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
No,,,All Levittown

Houses use York Heat oil fired boilers, York Shipley Company, they also had a Bendix Washer, a Hotpoint stove, and I think a GE refrigerator, Lustron homes all had Williams Gas O Matic, or Williams Oil O Matic furnaces, they were hung from the ceiling of the utility room, Williams Oil O Matic also use a low pressure burner, similar in theory to a GE, but it didnt fire down the center, Williams Co was EUREKA WILLIAMS of Bloomington Ill, and YES, they also built Eureka Vacuum Cleaners!!!!

Post# 735305 , Reply# 27   2/14/2014 at 22:05 (1,679 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Here is another

GE ad, showing the conversion burner, and a few furnaces, they were in it in a big way, and these were very expensive units.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO norgeway's LINK on eBay

Post# 735306 , Reply# 28   2/14/2014 at 22:10 (1,679 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Bet you didnt know!!

NORGE made a furnace as well!!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO norgeway's LINK on eBay

Post# 735308 , Reply# 29   2/14/2014 at 22:13 (1,679 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        

These were one of the best oil furnaces ever, my hometown is full of them, talk about quality, the burner is CAST IRON!, they will absolutely run forever.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO norgeway's LINK on eBay

Post# 735329 , Reply# 30   2/14/2014 at 23:34 (1,679 days old) by polkanut (Wausau, WI )        

polkanut's profile picture

My parent's house had a Williams oil furnace that lasted until March, 1980.  They replaced it with a Milwaukee Stove Co. natural gas furnace that is still going strong nearly 34 years later.  

Post# 735331 , Reply# 31   2/14/2014 at 23:48 (1,679 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        

That was another good one, Milwaukee Thermoflow, Metzger Engeneering Co.

Post# 735337 , Reply# 32   2/15/2014 at 00:14 (1,679 days old) by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

supersuds's profile picture
My grandma's house had a Norge oil furnace, looked like the one in the ad as I recall, but I never saw her using it. Guess oil got too expensive. She stayed pretty much in her kitchen/dining area and used a potbellied coal stove supplemented by an electric heater.

Post# 735346 , Reply# 33   2/15/2014 at 00:49 (1,679 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I would like to FIND!

A Norge oil furnace, I would clean it up, install new gaskets and put it right in my basement!

Post# 735383 , Reply# 34   2/15/2014 at 07:35 (1,679 days old) by polkanut (Wausau, WI )        

polkanut's profile picture

That's it, Milwaukee Thermoflo.  Not Milwaukee Stove Co.  I remember it was installed by Brummond Heating & Cooling now long out of business.

Post# 735384 , Reply# 35   2/15/2014 at 07:36 (1,679 days old) by polkanut (Wausau, WI )        

This post has been removed by the member who posted it.

Post# 739909 , Reply# 36   3/6/2014 at 17:36 (1,659 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

found this. has some cool videos. if you poke around you can find some rather interesting explosions!

Post# 740115 , Reply# 37   3/7/2014 at 17:34 (1,658 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

This is an overly cool site (pun intended). Our Canadian friends were no slackers when it came to developing refrigeration. Great pictures and I want a Norge Rollator!

Post# 740116 , Reply# 38   3/7/2014 at 17:39 (1,658 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Be sure to take the knowledge test. I scored a whopping 64%!

Post# 740134 , Reply# 39   3/7/2014 at 19:17 (1,658 days old) by whirlaway ()        
I dont Believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got 100!!!!! and after it tallies your score it says with fireworks! Stop the presses,You my friend are an early technology X-pert! I have to laugh!Im going to continue taking Mega-red. I usually go in a room and cant remember why Im there! I only took it one time just now.Funny what you remember!

Post# 740138 , Reply# 40   3/7/2014 at 19:32 (1,658 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Whirl, all I got was a big hand!

Post# 740154 , Reply# 41   3/7/2014 at 21:05 (1,658 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Interesting Test

combo52's profile picture
I got 100% also, So Bobby I guess we both know more than we need to know about old refrigeration parts, LOL.

It is an easy type test the way they give you the possible answers over and over again, it would be hard to get less than 50%, I had never even seen many of the parts pictured.

Post# 740156 , Reply# 42   3/7/2014 at 21:09 (1,658 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Oh sure, you both did it sober. Wait, did I just say that? I meant SOMBER.

Post# 740176 , Reply# 43   3/7/2014 at 22:55 (1,658 days old) by abcomatic (Bradford, Illinois)        

I took the above test and received a 71%. I would never have thought that I would ever get a score like that.

Post# 740193 , Reply# 44   3/8/2014 at 00:10 (1,658 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Got an 86.

Post# 740208 , Reply# 45   3/8/2014 at 02:13 (1,658 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

arbilab's profile picture
Buenos griefos! Mira que tiene cosa! I got 86% just from peering inside HVAC, never working on it.

Post# 740219 , Reply# 46   3/8/2014 at 06:21 (1,658 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

I don't work on HVAC gear as a trade either,just a "taste" of it-at my workplace a building engineer works on the HVAC and other building matters.Just know how it is supposed to work.

Post# 790820 , Reply# 47   10/27/2014 at 11:55 (1,424 days old) by jlotte2 ()        
Boiler manuals

Does anyone have any old (1950s-1980s) York/York-Shipley boiler or furnace manuals?

Post# 790839 , Reply# 48   10/27/2014 at 14:22 (1,424 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
No but..

I sure have worked on a bunch of 1940s and 50s York Heat hot air furnaces, my hometown is full of them..York Heat and Waterbury were in in my opinion, the best furnaces ever built, quiet, clean burning and last forever!

Post# 790844 , Reply# 49   10/27/2014 at 14:57 (1,424 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
Old Household System

rp2813's profile picture

Here's what's in the basement of a large 1931 house that's for sale in the neighborhood.


The rest of the basement is equally impressive, with full kitchen and 1958 stove, wine cellar, Spanish themed bar (The Rams Club) and lounge with fireplace all designed by a noted architect of the period.  It's all original except for the stove, which probably landed down there as a result of a bad '80s kitchen remodel.  Except for the kitchen, the whole house has been untouched and well maintained.

Post# 790846 , Reply# 50   10/27/2014 at 15:12 (1,424 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Great stuff!

Post# 790900 , Reply# 51   10/27/2014 at 23:32 (1,424 days old) by A440 ()        

Interesting Boiler Ralph!

Love the black Kitty behind the Exhaust Flue!

So cool that the exhaust flue for the boiler and water heater are Copper! 



Post# 790902 , Reply# 52   10/27/2014 at 23:43 (1,424 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
Black kitty

rp2813's profile picture

I know!  I didn't notice her/him the first time I looked at that shot.


No surprise.  The wife that lives there feeds a bunch of strays too.  There are several bowls scattered about on their front lawn.


That boiler is a true contraption.  Including the ones for gas I counted ten valves, and those are just the visible ones.

Post# 790998 , Reply# 53   10/28/2014 at 15:49 (1,423 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

What's the black cylendar thing with the valve handle on it, between boiler and water heater?

Post# 791003 , Reply# 54   10/28/2014 at 16:43 (1,423 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

The rusty thing?  I have no idea, but it appears that there was some re-piping work done and that piece was retained.  It must still be doing whatever it was intended to.


I was thinking I could go back and get a better shot of it since the place has been on the market for a while with price reductions and no takers, but just checked the web site and it appears there may be a pending sale, so access via open house events on alternate Sundays may be over.


I'll cross my fingers that new money types aren't busily planning a gut job along with transforming the basement bar and lounge into a media room with all the charm and craftsmanship of a suburban cineplex.


Post# 791059 , Reply# 55   10/28/2014 at 23:02 (1,423 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

wayupnorth's profile picture
I think maybe it could be an older expansion tank. My boiler has an Amtrol Extrol expansion tank with a safety valve as a just in case it heated too much.

Post# 791063 , Reply# 56   10/28/2014 at 23:25 (1,423 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

I think that may be a Trane badge on it, but at the bottom of the boiler it looks like it might say "Peerless."

Post# 791116 , Reply# 57   10/29/2014 at 09:37 (1,422 days old) by Davey7 (Chicago)        

Now that's a house and basement bar!

Looks like an expansion tank - I assume its a hot water system, though I think SF had a bit of steam in the early days. .

Post# 791236 , Reply# 58   10/29/2014 at 23:49 (1,422 days old) by A440 ()        
1956 Bryant Gas Furnace

I bet this furnace will last another 40 years!


Post# 791254 , Reply# 59   10/30/2014 at 00:58 (1,422 days old) by gusherb (Chicago/NWI)        

That is one of my favorite video's to watch. Just love watching that burner flashover! Reminds me of the 1960 Carrier Weathermaker furnace my grandmother used to have heating the room addition in her home, it was so oversized and ran so hot you could probably literally have roasted marshmallows over the registers. It sadly met it's fate after 48 years due to a flood that engulfed the basement from floor to ceiling. Even sadder yet is the heat exchanger was in perfect condition and the furnace would still be in service if it weren't for that flood. I don't think the new Trane will last even 1/3rd as long as that Carrier did.

Post# 791261 , Reply# 60   10/30/2014 at 02:18 (1,422 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

EE Gads--from my childhood-one of the houses we lived in had a heater-furnace like that Bryant!Was in the basement-would look thru the grates on the side cover and see the burners start.and hear the fan start after the heat exchanger warmed up.Of course the blower was muffled from the cover.As I type this trying to remember what house it was in-was rather little at the times.Yes,that Bryant is a quality peice of equipment.Too bad they don't build them like this one anymore!

Post# 791263 , Reply# 61   10/30/2014 at 02:36 (1,422 days old) by NYCWriter ()        
My apartment building ...

... was built in 1920.

Still using the original boiler, which looks like a steam ship impossibly buried in an underground cavern!

Post# 792377 , Reply# 62   11/6/2014 at 15:09 (1,414 days old) by Davey7 (Chicago)        
Old Boilers

Old boilers last a long time if they are well maintained. It's usually the new controls and etc that fail.

Post# 792439 , Reply# 63   11/6/2014 at 23:09 (1,414 days old) by A440 ()        
Janitrol Dura-Tube

Janitrol made A fantastic Furnace.  Sadly so many of these furnaces were replaced because they were deemed "inefficient".  The Janitrol Dura-Tube Furnaces were built to last 100 years when installed properly with enough cold / fresh air return.  

Here are a few examples.  One is a standard upflow furnace.   Another is a "garage hanging" type furnace so you can see what a "Dura-Tube" manifold / heat exchanger looked like. And the last is a horizontal Janitrol that was installed in a crawlspace.  

Look at the metal on the cases of these furnaces!  It is incredible.  



  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 7         View Full Size
Post# 985830 , Reply# 64   3/8/2018 at 11:40 (196 days old) by appliancedude16 (Sunnyvale,California, U.S.A)        
Old Heating

I'm Pretty sure that I still have the original furnace for my old house in San Diego, CA, It's a mid to late 50's or early 60's Day and Night gas furnace, it has 2 burners, 1 standing pilot and 1 belt or direct driven blower fan. It blows out a lot of heat throughout my old house.

Post# 985842 , Reply# 65   3/8/2018 at 14:38 (196 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        

This post has been removed by the member who posted it.

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