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History query

2 history questions: 1) When did the first automatic oil burner hit the scene-what type and make-and 2) when did the circulating pump first appear on a hot water heating system, and who made it? Are there any websites dealing with history of this type?


  • bill nye_3
    bill nye_3 Member Posts: 307
    Glad you..

    Glad you asked, the answer, of course, right here on the wall..

  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,382
    Ill give it a shot....

    The first oil burner I yhink was Timkin "the silent automatic" early 50's?

    And Thrush made the first water circulator... mid 40's
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    Upper bound.

    I do not know enough history to answer your question, but I have one data point.

    My Cape Cod house was built in New Jersey in about 1950 and it had a General Electric oil fired hot water boiler to heat the house, mainly a concrete slab at grade with 1/2 inch copper tubing in it. I replaced that boiler in May 2009 with a gas fired mod-con. It was still working and not leaking.

    General Electric manufactured these residential oil burners here in New Jersey (In Bloomfield, if I remember correctly). So a partial answer is that the first oil fired boilers with a (3-piece) circulator pump were made no later than 1950.

    Mine is on page 10 and 11 of this booklet. If you look at page 9, you will see a steam boiler very much like my hot water boiler.


    Here are a few more data points on this boiler.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,875
    I'll do more research, but...

    the earliest maintenance record we have on file for the system in the building I superintend is from the fall of 1943; at that time the burner (automatic) was reported to be a Quiet May (it was anything but) with a 5.0 gph nozzle, in an H. B. Smith boiler.

    The original boiler was installed in 1930, and I am pretty sure that it was oil fired from the day it was installed, and I am quite sure it was automatic -- as I do have the installation record for the original electric thermostat (wish I still had it; museum people are weird that way).  I'll try to find the installation record for the burner make and possibly model; it must be around here somewhere.

    But the maintenance record pushes it to 1943 at the latest.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,875

    The original heating system was (and still is -- almost no changes!) a Hoffman equipped system.  The boiler was (it's been changed, thank goodness) an 8-section #34 Mills water tube, manufactured by H. B. Smith, rated at 2,800 square feet (that's what it says -- but that can't possibly be the EDR rating!).

    The oil burner was a Quiet May, firing at 5.0 gallons per hour, fed by a 2,000 gallon underground storage tank (wish we still had that...), controlled by a Honeywell bimetal type thermostat (sorry -- I don't have the model number on either the thermostat or the oil burner).

    And yes, we do have the original bills and all -- but I haven't been able to find the manuals; we may not ever have had them.

    The steam system, including the boiler, cost $2,465.00, and the oil burner and tank $964.50.  Those were the days...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    Oil burners

    first came out in the 1920s, and some of them were pretty scary by today's standards. Somewhere I have a book from that era which might have some brand names in it.

    Homer Thrush came out with the first circulator that became popular, in the late 1920s or early 1930s IIRC. The Thrush company is still in business, I think it's located in Indiana.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,487
    And just a bit earlier,

    Wilo introduced the circulator in Europe. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,487
    William Newton Best

    writes about working on oil burners in 1887 in his book, The Science of Burning Liquid Fuel, published in 1913
    Retired and loving it.
This discussion has been closed.