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Very Early Steam System in Davenport, IA

Dave in QCA
Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,785
edited December 2014 in Strictly Steam
I apologize in advance if anyone thinks that I have posted information that does not belong on the Steam Only section. But, I think it does, and that many will enjoy.

I have been working with a not-for-profit group with the intent of getting a local historic house into the hands of someone who would restore it. It has suffered much neglect and deterioration. It has a very early steam system and I am surprised to see the uninsulated risers buried in the interior walls. The house was built in 1856-57, too early for steam, unless there were mattress radiators that were later replaced with Nason type vertical wrought tube type after the Civil War. Another option is that they placed the risers into the walls when steam heat was added, but while possible, it seems unusual. The radiator tubes are all threaded and are connected to U-bends at the top. There is a cast frame that sits on the top with a few still having the original marble slabs attached. On most, it appears that the marble was broken at some time and a sheet metal cover was attached to the frame as a replacement.

We know that several houses built in the immediate area in 1881 included steam heat, and those systems were 2 pipe vented. This system, however, is a simple 1 pipe. Mains are relatively small, 2" parallel flow. No main vents, end of main drips to a wet return under floor. Also, the 1881 examples have decorative patterns in the cast base while these are relatively plain. In the next few days I am going to do a steam survey, but up until now we have been concentrating on removing a build up of trash and junk, and fallen plaster.

As lover of antique heating systems, especially steam, I find it impossible to separate the structure from the system, and I think that there might be many of you regulars out there that are of the same mind. So, I'm going to include a nice write-up that was done by a person on the other side of the state, as he tells the story better than anyone else has so far.
http://lucascountyan.blogspot.com/2014/12/good-news-for-historic-iowa-house.html

And, I'll include some pictures. And, after uploading pictures, I also included a couple shots of the defunct boiler. I would suggest a contest to see if people could come up with the number of errors in the installation. But, the safe answer is, 100% of it is wrong! Ha! Well, perhaps the electrical and gas connections might be right....

I will follow up with the steam survey and pictures of all radiators.

Enjoy!
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
KC_Jones
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Comments

  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,785
    Thanks BobC. I am in hopes that if I fully document and analyze the steam system, bit will stand a better chance of being retained rather than being the first thing that is ripped out in the name of efficiency. If the steam system does get removed in the end, at least it will be fully documented and photographed.
    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
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    edited December 2014

    bit will stand a better chance of being retained rather than being the first thing that is ripped out in the name of efficiency.

    Don't let anyone convince them that steam is inefficient. A poorly running steam system is inefficient. Any poorly running system will be inefficient. Judging by that boiler install that place has had some horrible contractors working on the heat. Good luck with that endeavor!
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    What a wonderful piece of antiquity! Save the house first, the steam system next. Whatever happens, don't let those rads end up in the dumpster or some opportunist push for forced air so he/she can salvage the radiators and all that copper :)
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    All that incorrect copper piping could help finance some of the steam restoration!
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    edited December 2014
    Amazing in so many ways! A house that size NEEDS a steam system. If anyone can convince them to keep it, you can. Good to see you back on The Wall, too. How's your system running? Any changes?
    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
  • Waterbury Steam
    Waterbury Steam Member Posts: 53
    Places like this are why I find the old river towns in eastern Iowa much more interesting than central Iowa where I live now. I grew up in Dubuque and as a Deere employee, I visit the QCA somewhat often. You can tell these places were a big deal during the industrialization of America--the Quad Cities in particular feel a lot more like Ohio or Michigan than the rest of Iowa. I'm glad to see that somebody is making an effort to preserve and revitalize places like this. I was kind of shocked at the condition of John Deere's old house when I saw it for the first time, but it looks like there's work being done on that too.

    Anyway, ripping out the steam would be a crime!
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,785
    Thank for all of the supportive comments and I agree that the steam should be saved. Many of the rads might be required to remain in in place, even if the steam system is not kept in operation because of the historic nature and those rads are character defining elements to the historic space, so putting in a new boiler and proper return lines only makes sense.

    Vaporvac, thank you. And my system is just purring along, working wonderfully. Had to do some minor orifice adjustments, but the boiler runs great. I'll post a couple observations soon.
    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
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,821
    We have a Nason circular radiator that looks like those.

    But, I'd say yours aren't Nasons. The Nason radiators had the top ends of the pipes welded shut. I think Bundy was the first to use loops at the top of the pipes- Crane and others adopted this pattern later IIRC. Since Crane was located in Chicago, I think there's a fair chance those are Crane rads.

    I think we've found a good place for a Steam Summit.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    SWEI
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Wow.
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 354
    That house looks impressive, too bad it was neglected. If it was owned by a well to do family, they may well have had the risers buried in the walls and plastered over them so they wouldn't have to see pipes (think how that would ruin the decor!) - hopefully they didn't cut too many joists to do it!
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,785
    I was back there a couple days ago and photographed all but three of the rads. I could not find any markings on them and would really appreciate any comments as to the manufacture and likely time range of manufacture.

    The first 3 images are all the same radiator. The rusty one was in the basement, but against a masonry wall that had been sloughing against it for years. It apparently came from the kitchen originally and the radiator that originally was in the front stair hall was moved to the kitchen.
    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
    RomanGK_26986764589
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    WOW
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    @Dave in QCA:

    Understand that "Gut Re-Habs" weren't something started in the 1980's. They have always been going on. The 1%'ers of old, were always looking for a good deal in property and wouldn't pass up a decent abode for the right price and put their stamp upon it.

    In New England, they moved houses like some move around in their cars. They also dismantled them, took the good pieces and used them over. That can help someone date old houses.

    For example, one photo shows a ceiling with a big hole in it. The joists have white marks where the plaster squeezed through the lathes. In really older houses, before they had accurately sawn timber, there was tremendous variations in lumber width. They used :Strapping or Furring Strips to shim down from the uneven bottoms. They used "Balloon Framing" with a "Ribbon" cut into the stud wall, and made all cuts on the bottom so that the floor was level on the top, The variations came from the bottom. Or, why you had to Furr the bottoms. To get a level ceiling, If you rip down a ceiling that has been furred down, and you see plaster lines on the joist bottoms, it might have been from an old gut re-hab. If you know old houses, you can see differences. They spent well in places they lived. The other folks, not so much. On one photo, I saw a Plinth Block on the bottom of a door casing. In no other photos did I see another plinth block. One photo had a form of bed/show molding next to a radiator on a platform. I didn't see any others. In that "Victorian Period" after the Civil War, there were many gut-re-habs done everywhere by those who could afford it.

    Way back when, those that could afford it, bought old houses and changed them like their clothes. If you look around, you will see tremendous history in that house. Far more than you realize. The stories I could tell you. Keep studying. It will all fall into place and it a better journey than any video game you can play.

    I'll bet that Steamhead can tell you stories about Baltimore and old houses and Renovations there.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    Ice, it's definitely everywhere. I have uncovered closed in doorways in my own home. Found the old gas light piping and the obvious signs of when the knob and tube wiring was added. My house would have been good for an introduction to electricity class as I found every form of wiring that I know of in there. I have since completely rewired the entire house. The only thing that appears to be original is the plumbing. The main drain runs right through the base support for my chimney?! It's pretty crazy. In my area it's not so much gut rehabs as it is CRAP rehabs. I have a saying "Just because you can swing a hammer, doesn't mean you should". Old houses are definitely interesting.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    A place to look for gas light installations is in attics or second floors where they haven't replaced the finish flooring. You can see the boards they carefully took up to install the 3/8" gas piping. They usually needed an offset to get to the light fixture so they would take up a board or two to get to the fixture. Old gas pipes in the cellar help.

    What's really cool is old abandoned lead cold water pipe.

    Any rain water cisterns around? You have to be very careful of those. I've been in many old houses where they built the cisterns 1/2 way under the house and you got water out from a hatch in the kitchen floor. Crawling around under houses where I worked it could be dangerous. I was once crawling and while crawling by a masonry structure, I dislodged a brick, heard it fall, and a second or two later, I heard a splash. It took three truckloads of sand shoveled by hand to fill it. Scared the crap out of me.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    icesailor said:

    Scared the crap out of me.

    So how exactly did you explain to the customer that you needed to go home and change your pants? ;)
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,785
    edited December 2014
    Thank you, IceSailor and KC_Jones. I have been studying and documenting historic homes and buildings for about 35 years and I have the history of this house pretty well mapped out. What I don't know for sure is when the steam was added. I am confident that it was not installed in the original construction, and that when the pipes were added inside the walls, that patching was done well enough that there is no visible trace. There are two likely times when the steam install might have happened, and they are shortly after the civil war, say 1865-1870. I have some pictures coming from Des Moines of some radiators that I know were installed in 1868, at Terrace Hill, the Iowa Governor's residence where I was previously employed. The next likely time that the radiators might have been installed is 1885 when the home was purchased by a wealthy merchant. We know that a lot of steam heat was being installed in Davenport in the 1880s and some of those that I have documented as 1881 have vertical tube radiators, but the cast base section of those is much more decorative.

    My purpose of all of this is to document the steam system so that it might be more likely to be saved. I will insert a copy of a "short version" of the history of the house, since it seems to be getting some attention on here. My apologies to anyone that thinks that this should not be posted here.



    History of the Lambrite-Iles-Petersen House

    510 West Sixth Street, Davenport, Iowa

    By David L. Cordes

    The Lambrite-Iles-Peterson House is one of the most architecturally and historically significant residential structures in the Gold Coast – Hamburg Historic District and the entire city of Davenport. Constructed in 1856 at 510 W. Sixth Street, it is among the earliest and most unique examples of Italian Villa style architecture in Iowa. Over the course of this city’s history, it has been the home of many prominent members of the community. Designed by John C. Cochrane, a young and talented Davenport architect who went on to become one of the most prominent 19th century Chicago architects, the Lambrite House’s history, pedigree, and beauty embody the early history of Davenport.

    The Italian Villa style began to gain some popularity just before the Civil War but it was not until the end of the war that the style came to the forefront and was considered the most picturesque prestigious house style of the upper middle class. Most examples of the style date to the late 1860s and 1870s and while there are a few examples of the style that were built in the 1850s, they are quite rare. In Iowa, the earliest examples of the style are the Birdwood Estate, constructed in Keokuk in 1855, the Lambrite house constructed in 1856, and the William P. Brazelton house, constructed in Mt. Pleasant in 1858. Although this is not a complete survey of all examples of the style in Iowa, it suffices to say that the Lambrite house is both a very early and very elaborate example of this style. It is the first example of this style in the city of Davenport and quite likely, the second example in the entire state of Iowa. The Morse – Libby house, constructed 1858-1860 in Portland, Maine, is regarded as the most important example of the Italian Villa style in the nation and it features many of the fine decorative details as well as the same general form as the Lambrite house.

    A new architect arrived in Davenport early in 1856; he hung a sign over his door that read, "J. C. Cochrane, architect." His success was remarkable, for in spite of his young age of twenty-two, he obtained quite an extensive practice, far more than any other architect in the place, even those who had been located there for many years. In fact he was the architect for the most important buildings. The Burtis House, Metropolitan Hall, St. Luke's Church, Joseph Lambrite’s residence, Willard Barrow’s residence, and other buildings were erected from his designs. Of these early buildings, only the Lambrite Residence remains. Due to stagnation in building with the panic of 1857, in 1858 Cochrane moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he established an office, and soon found that he was doing a remunerative business. With the onset of the civil war, he went back to his boyhood home in New Hampshire. In 1864 Mr. Cochrane went to Chicago, determined to devote all his energies to his profession, and to build for himself a name as a leading architect. He had not long to wait for employment. In 1865 the legislature of Illinois authorized the building of the State House at Springfield. The commissioners advertised for plans, and Mr. Cochrane was one of the twenty competitors. His plans were accepted by a vote of fifteen to three on the first ballot, - a great victory for so young a man, and with no other recommendation than the excellence of his work. Cochrane became one of the most important architects in Chicago during the time that he practiced. He designed many buildings in that city too numerous to list plus many buildings throughout the Midwestern region, including the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, the Scott County Courthouse and thirteen other court houses in Iowa, the Renwick Mansion and the Davies Mansion in Davenport. At age 54, Cochrane’s career was cut short with his untimely death in 1887.

    Joseph Lambrite came to Davenport in 1851 and became a partner with Strong Burnell and S. S. Gillett in a saw mill operation that was located on the river front between Scott and Ripley Streets. This was the largest sawmill in Davenport at the very beginning of Davenport’s lumber milling era that brought great growth and prosperity to the city. But, due to the financial panic that occurred in late 1857, the mill failed in 1858 and closed. After several years it reopened and eventually became the known as Schricker and Mueller Lumber Co. Lambrite lost most of his fortune in this unfortunate financial collapse, listing his net worth as $100 personal property and no real estate owned in the 1860 federal census. At this time, the Lambrite house changed hands several times, but soon was purchased by Thomas Iles, M.D., the chief surgeon of the Confederate Prison Camp located on Rock Island. After the war, Iles was a prominent physician and surgeon in Davenport until he retired. In 1885, the aging left the home and it was acquired by prominent merchant, John H. C. Petersen, who operated the largest department store in Davenport, located in a building now known as the Redstone. The Petersen family retained ownership of the home for 10 years after Petersen’s death 1910, selling the home in 1920 to Joseph Schick, who added the craftsman style porches and built the craftsman style bungalow in the west lawn in 1925.

    Despite its current state of disrepair and neglect, the Lambrite-Iles-Petersen house is still restorable. But with broken windows, holes in walls and rotting roofs, time is running out. In a short time, the house will be beyond repair. It is important to act now or this historical and architectural treasure will forever be lost.
    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
    RobG
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    Interesting. What always boggles my mind is how a house of this size and stature ends up in the state it's in?! Someone had to own it and neglect it...essentially on purpose.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    KC_Jones said:

    icesailor said:

    Scared the crap out of me.

    So how exactly did you explain to the customer that you needed to go home and change your pants? ;)


    Some experiences are worse than others. I worked alone, in a small area. It was never more than 15 minutes to home for a change.

  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    MInd this post? Are you kidding? I think anyone interested in steam heating probably gets there because they love old houses and their history. I could see a whole section for old houses and ther steam heating systems! I love those rads and when you hopefully get the system running again would love to hear how they heat.
    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
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    KC_Jones said:

    Interesting. What always boggles my mind is how a house of this size and stature ends up in the state it's in?! Someone had to own it and neglect it...essentially on purpose.

    I don't know about "on purpose", I just think they are delusional and nostalgic. Have you ever driven by an old home that has a beautiful old car in the yard that just needs some TLC? You stop and knock on the door and ask the owner if they would like to sell it. They respond "no, I'm going to fix it up someday". Twenty years later you drive by the same house and see the same car sitting in (or should I say on the yard) because it has sunken down to the rusted, rotted, ruined frame. The car is now worth no more than scrap and parts. I have learned that if I want to preserve something I cannot just leave it sitting there. It requires maintenance and TLC. That goes from tools to cars to homes. Nostalgia is great, as long as it stays in your head.
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 354
    Those radiators are great, but they probably gave the nice Irish or Swedish maid conniptions when it came to dusting them.

    I grew up in a building built, according to records, in 1906 and it was wired for electricity and had gas lighting from day one. The gas lines were laid out neatly, with a main right down the middle and nice branches. The electric conduit (no knob and tube in Chicago afaik) went haphazardly from box to box. One pipe steam of course! The church across the street had dual conduit, split down the middle - half for gas and two wires in the other half!

    Houses deteriorate quickly with just a few leaks. A friend of mine moved to Philly and bid 60k on a 300k house (if in good condition) - the estate wouldn't take less than 100k despite a hole in the roof. So he bid 300 on a 600k wreck and got it - also neglected, but inhabitable.

    Good thing the cistern was in the basement and not in the attic to leak down!
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,271
    KC_Jones said:

    Interesting. What always boggles my mind is how a house of this size and stature ends up in the state it's in?! Someone had to own it and neglect it...essentially on purpose.

    Sadly, KC, while I agree with the neglect part, it's not always on purpose (though, undeniably, sometimes it is). Sometimes, for example, it's simply a family who has lived there a lobg time and quite honestly doesn't see the changes and decay. Until something actually falls down, the change can be so slow as to hard to see, if you see it every day. Sometimes, too, it is a lack of money for maintenance. It often amazes me how little people are willing to spend on that -- and newer houses fall victim to that, too. And sometimes it is lack of knowledge -- either that something needs to be maintained at all, or how to go about the maintenance. But whatever the cause it is sad -- and I'm very glad that there are folks like Dave who have the knowledge and interest to try and rescue the places!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 354
    I forgot to ask whether this was going to be a "traditional" house museum or occupied (museum or regular) - not sure I read one way or the other (or missed it).
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,785
    edited October 2016
    It's time for an update on this story.

    First, the house was sold by the city to a lovely retired couple who have previous restoration projects under their belt. Of course, this is a project of a greater magnitude. But, what better way to spend the beginning years of an early retirement! This fine old house will make a wonderful home for them!

    Second, the purchaser, while doing research came across this website, and....... believe it or not, this post as well! The discussion and knowledge expressed here regarding the advantages of steam heat, directly influenced the new owner to retain the steam system and restore it fully. How often does this happen?

    Careful analysis of the system revealed that the stair hall radiator had been moved to the kitchen and the original kitchen radiator was moved to the basement, where it rusted away in the residue from crumbling lime mortar. The large radiator was reinstalled in the Hall and a salvage pipe style radiator was found for the kitchen.

    Boiler Installation in Next Post!
    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
    KC_JonesRomanGK_26986764589
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Fantastic! I can't wait to see it.
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,785
    The new boiler was expertly installed by my friend Ben @ J.L. Brady Co. and who occasionally posts as Boiler Wrestler.

    The original under floor wet return mains had started leaking years ago and had been piped overhead, as horrible head knockers. New underground 1" copper wet returns were installed before a new concrete floor was poured. Wrapped in foam insulation, the returns are retaining most of their heat and the returns are HOT where they come back up out of the ground. Note, you can see them coming out of the ground and connections to black iron just before the Hartford loop. Both ends of underground returns were fitted with ball valves for isolation and hose bibs to flush the line.

    The new WM EG boiler was installed with oversized risers, drop header, etc. When fired up, the system came up to temperature. It's running silently and evenly. I don't recall the numbers for EDR or the ratings of the boiler, but after running over an hour, it fully heated all the radiators, but did not build pressure. That may change once the mains are insulated, which is to be done soon.

    Thanks to all for all of the supportive comments about this fine old home. Its coming back to life! Hurrah!








    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
    RomanGK_26986764589SWEI
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    Beautiful to see a steam system restored instead of being replaced with scorched air.

    Were the wet returns sized to the EDR? They seem to have been reduced to 1" copper?
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,785
    The end of mains were reconstructed to add vents, which are up between the joists. Ben used a full sized drop before reducing instead of a reducing el, as it was originally. Yes, the 1" copper is sized to the EDR. I think the original iron lines may have been 1 1/4", but I'm not sure.
    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
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,477
    What a great success story. It's heartening to see somebody who cares about doing whats right. I see to many homes in my area get gutted and have the steam system sent to the scrap yard. a few get baseboard but most end up with FHA.

    That boiler install is first rate.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    What a difference a day and a properly installed steam system makes! Beautiful job @Dave in QCA ! I hope the owners will post some pics as they progress with the rest of the restoration.
  • EzzyT
    EzzyT Member Posts: 1,295
    Gorgeous install as always @Dave in QCA
    E-Travis Mechanical LLC
    Etravismechanical@gmail.com
    201-887-8856
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,785
    All credit goes to Ben and the J.L. Brady crew.
    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
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Great to see this old beauty fixed up and chugging away. Thanks for sharing.
  • JRosewater
    JRosewater Member Posts: 1
    Howdy. I came across this site / thread searching for information about civil war era, shotgun barrel surplus radiators. I am assuming the rad.s shown here are of the same sort, (provided that tale is indeed true). I've heard them called "Reed" rad.s, but am having a hard time verifying that. I've enjoyed reading through this thread very much as I'm mad fascinated by old houses, and most especially by antique, pre-modern systems, and 19th century technology of all sorts. I would have restored the cistern system mentioned above instead of filling it with sand. :-) Aneehoo; thanks' to all who contributed to the conversation; and here's hoping we hear some updates about this great house sometime. I look forward to the day I have a project house with an antique steam system to restore; and will be glad I found this great resource when I do.

    Here's a great, very early, shot of the Davenport house I happened upon; http://grgdavenport.org/Historic photos/JHC Petersen house reduced.jpg

    Cheers! J
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,821
    Cool!
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,510
    Very nice!! But too many stairs to climb. I would need an elevator installed lol
    Dave in QCA
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 627
    edited June 2022
    I wish I had the ambition to tackle a project like this. I'd gut it down to the studs and save all the wood trim, moldings, flooring and doors and strip them of their paint or stain to be re-used. Modernize the building envelope with closed cell foam and install new windows that mimic the original appearance. Or worst case restore the old windows if they are in good enough shape and install some storm windows.

    Do an accurate heat loss calculation and size the radiators accordingly and install a new boiler matched to the new EDR, or actually slightly less. Maybe a 10-15% pickup factor instead of 33% and insulate the heck out of the piping.

    That would be my dream house!