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Lovely Lane Methodist Church- A Steam Heating Museum

Steamhead
Steamhead Member Posts: 16,820
One of the things we love about this business is all the really cool buildings we get to explore. This was the very first Methodist church in America, first organized just before the Revolution. The first part of the present building was started in 1884, with the last part being built in the 1930s.



The original system was two-pipe air-vent, using what we think are Nason radiators. It housed a sanctuary on the main floor, which is now used as a chapel. The lower level was, I believe, used as offices and Sunday school rooms. It is now a library and a museum of American Methodism. Here is one of the rads in the museum- note how the rad was raised above the original boiler's water level on a hollow base that drew cold air from the floor level.



The second pic shows the overhead steam piping above the same rad. This wall is curved, and the Dead Men bent the pipe to conform to the curve of the wall. Where do we see this kind of craftsmanship today?



The main sanctuary has about a dozen indirect radiators feeding into a false floor. The heat comes up thru small mushroom vents under the seats.



The pastor's quarters, Sunday school rooms and gym were built in the 1930s. At that time, the whole system was "Webster-ized"- converted to Webster Vapor. This newest part of the building is pretty much standard Webster, but the two older portions have an unusual mix of old and new. Look closely at these pics and you'll see a Webster #522 trap on that radiator.



The boilers in this building also heated several buildings next door, which was the original home of Goucher College, named after the Lovely Lane preacher who organized it. At some point, the college installed its own boiler plant- I don't know what's in there now.
All Steamed Up, Inc.
Towson, MD, USA
Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
Oil & Gas Burner Service
Consulting

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,820
    edited July 2014
    This week's big project

    was to cure a very bad banging problem in the library/museum hallway. Some shifty-eyed Dead Man wasn't paying attention.



    A 3-inch steam main travels from the boiler room thru a zone valve, then down the hallway. There were two drip traps along the way, one at a 3-foot rise and one at the end. But about halfway between them, someone installed a 3x2x2-1/2 tee to connect a branch main, and didn't use an eccentric reduction. This caused a water pocket, and everyone knew when that zone valve opened- BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!!!!!



    Our cunning plan was to drill and tap the tee, then run a cooling leg to a thermostatic trap. There was not enough available pitch for an F&T trap, unless we used an in-line trap which would have added extra weight to the line. In the next post you'll see why we wanted to avoid that.



    The third pic shows what happened when we drilled the tee. Fortunately we had a bucket handy, having expected this.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,820
    This is how it ended up

    We tapped the tee for 1/2" pipe, and installed a plugged tee under that so if it ever clogs, we can clean it out. Gordon got out his MIG welder to attach a thread-o-let to the dry return- I took the photo before we put up the fire blankets. 



    The cooling leg comes off the plugged tee in 3/4" pipe. The split-ring hanger around the cooling leg is 1", which allows the pipe to move as it expands and contracts. The trap is a Barnes & Jones #134S, and a flexible expansion piece connects the trap to the dry return. This allows the steam main to move as it needs to without straining the trap piping. The geometry of the piping turned out a bit screwy due to the way the pipe had to come off the tee tapping and dodge some other pipes while maintaining proper pitch.



    This has almost eliminated the banging. There are some other issues- pressure too high before burners switch to low fire, boiler-feed pump controllers set too high, bad or plugged header-drip traps- which when solved will probably get rid of the rest.



    More pics to come.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,820
    edited July 2014
    Indirect Stacks & Main Sanctuary

    I got out my regular camera for these pics- the cell phone would not have worked so well. Even so, some were underexposed.



    This is one of about a dozen stacks of indirect radiation that heat the main sanctuary. Each has from four to eight elements which can be shut off individually. We think they were mounted high enough to provide a decent "A" dimension from the original boiler's waterline. This one still has one of the Webster F&T traps that were installed in the 1930s, changing it from 2-pipe air-vent to something resembling Vapor.



    The second pic is in the sanctuary. It has theater-style seats, and you can see the outlets where the heat comes up under the seats.



    The third pic is one of the pipe radiators in this section. It's different from the ones in the oldest part of the building, but we still can't find a name on it.



    The last pic is the only column-type rad we found so far, in a sitting room. It's a 3-column American Rococo.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,820
    The newest section

    covers the church hall, Sunday school rooms and gym. It's pretty much standard Webster Vapor with large-tube radiators, as seen here in the hall. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,820
    edited July 2014
    The Chapel

    was the original sanctuary. The rooms opening off the chapel were probably the original Sunday school rooms. Here we see the same type of rads as in the museum below- these have had TRVs added, as well as Webster 522 traps.



    The last pic shows how the Dead Men ventilated the restroom. That capped pipe in the duct fed gas to a small burner, which when lit created a draft to ventilate the room. This was standard procedure in the days before small electric motors became available to operate fans.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,820
    Boiler Room

    showing the pair of Smith 19HE-6 boilers with PowerFlame oil burners. There is not enough gas in the street to run these on gas- they're stuck with oil for the foreseeable future.



    So far, we've lowered the pump controllers (they were mounted too high, a common problem) fixed some screwed up pump relays, hooked up the zone valve end switches so they can start and stop the burners (boilers had been maintaining 5 PSI all the time, another common problem) and replaced the ballcock in the boiler-feed tank. There's more to do- we'll be back!
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    A treasure trove

    of vintage building technologies!  The bathroom ventilator was a new one for me, and I've never seen indirect heating on that kind of scale.



    Thanks for sharing with us.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    Nice

    What an interesting building. It is sometimes fun to decipher all of the different decades of craftsmanship being crammed into a building (and its additions). I am surprised that the city can't supply adequate pressure to run those boilers. I have never seen nor heard of it being done but is there any way to run a gas line sized for both boilers and only hook up one (if the main can supply enough gas for it). Then when the main is eventually upgraded the second boiler can be converted? If you made the gas boiler lead it would definitely save the church a few dollars over oil (currently).



    Rob
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,820
    edited July 2014
    The gas mains in this area

    are still the old low-pressure variety, and probably date back at least to when the first part of the church was built. The original and second parts of the church did have gas lighting. No one ever expected using anything but coal for heating.



    The city doesn't own the gas mains- BGE does, and they have done little if any upgrading since the deregulation scam went through. It would probably take a couple billions to replace all the old cast-iron low-pressure piping in Baltimore, which would take away from the CEOs', CFOs' and other bigwigs' paychecks and stock options.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    icesailor
  • You could force thier hand.....

    Hook up the gas and install a pressure booster to suck the gas out of the mains. Not nice to the neighbors, but it would force them to upgrade.   Or at least install a small gas lead boiler that could handle most of the typical loads, and leave the big pick up loads on oil.
    The Steam Whisperer (Formerly Boilerpro)

    Chicago's Steam Heating Expert





    Noisy Radiators are a Cry for Help
  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 958
    What a wonderful space.

    Must have been an honor, Steamhead. The quality of construction and the sense of permanence those structures provide gives me such a feeling of comfort when I'm around them. Of course, steam heat delivered through those vertical pipe radiators is second to none in terms of elegance and comfort.



    Intuitively, I've felt that those radiators put out more heat than their EDR would suggest, and somewhere in the old Webster literature it substantiates that. Have you ever noticed the unreal field of radiant heat those put out? August is a lousy time to test for it, I know. :-)



    Imagine all the people who've come out of a wind-swept icy cold Sunday morning to be greeted by those radiators. They've been doing God's work!
    terry
  • could you have piped those boilers with a common drop header, as I have seen on some of JStar's installs?--NBC
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,820
    We didn't install them.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,270
    Thank you for bringing this one back up! It's a lovely place.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Steamhead said:

    We didn't install them.

    Some people have all the fun with the challenges.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    I would be scared as heck to try and do an EDR count on that place!
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,785
    Beautiful and amazing!
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,100
    great pics. What's the box under that elevated radiator for?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,820
    To keep the rad well above the original boiler's waterline. There is a duct built into the back of the box that routes air from the floor up into the rad.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    And we think we know so much. These guys were geniuses.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,657
    Steamhead said:

    The Chapel

    was the original sanctuary. The rooms opening off the chapel were probably the original Sunday school rooms. Here we see the same type of rads as in the museum below- these have had TRVs added, as well as Webster 522 traps.



    The last pic shows how the Dead Men ventilated the restroom. That capped pipe in the duct fed gas to a small burner, which when lit created a draft to ventilate the room. This was standard procedure in the days before small electric motors became available to operate fans.

    Do you have any pictures of what the burner looked like?
    Amazing idea, never heard of it before.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,820
    Nope- once in a great while you see them in old public buildings that have not been renovated. The last time I saw one was in the library at the Wagner Free Institute of Science in Philadelphia. Can't find any pics from there.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,820
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,479
    @Steamhead That was a cool looking project. Congrats on fixing their issue
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons