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Superhuman Dead Men?

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vicbrick
vicbrick Member Posts: 20
Spent the weekend salvaging several 13-15 section (36-40") Ringen Louis XIV cast iron radiators from a turn of the century house with one-pipe steam system in southern Illinois. We (5 of us) were able to remove most of smaller rads from the first floor, but we had to abandoned the larger rads on the first floor and all the radiators on the second floor. At least by current standards, we would consider ourselves fit and strong, but fear of "death by radiator" and collateral house damage kept us from attempting to move the rads on the upper floor down the stairs. The smallest rad upstairs is 36" wide...too wide to slide down the stairs on its side and the top of the rad is curved as well.

So, I have know, how did the "dead men" typically install radiators? Did they bring each section up one at a time, assemble and "thru" bolt together? Did they hoist them in place before the ornate stairs were installed?

I love the casting detail, etc of these Ringen radiators and would like to use them in my existing HW system...and not get melted down.. .but first, I need to be able to walk upright again :)


Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,890
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    At the very least, you need a proper hand truck with straps to hold the radiator on. Furniture moving dollies work well too if you can lay the rad down on them and hold them with straps.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • vicbrick
    vicbrick Member Posts: 20
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    Thanks Steamhead! Yes, we had a couple of furniture moving dollies ,etc. All these radiators are 39-40" tall. So, with the stairs 32" wide , it makes for trouble...at least for us.

    What's the likely hood, I could remove the "thru-bolts" , pop each section of the rad off with a wooden/plastic wedge, reassemble the rads later, and be leak free in my HW system?

    I tend think the 100 years of corrosion on the push nipples/ bushings would making it unlikely that they would be leak free ?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,890
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    Are you sure those rads will handle HW? Post a pic and let's have a look at them.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • FranklinD
    FranklinD Member Posts: 399
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    I've often wondered this many times myself. My mom's house has a 15 section 42" tall 3 column ARCo on the THIRD floor...and the base of the 'attic' stairs has a hairpin turn. Can get a twin mattress up there, but not a twin box spring. Unless they hoisted it up there during the middle of construction in 1892-6, it was brought up in sections and assembled. Then again, maybe they had a block and tackle hung out the window...but the windows are all 32" up there. I don't know. Would've loved to see it happen though!
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,616
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    I have always figured out a way to move things but that being said I am not going to minimize the description of how tough that would be to move.

    Maybe they bought some of the bigger rads in sections or knocked down to some extent.

    I have seen a lot of old stuff, 8", 10" 12" threaded pipe when they barely had electricity. I was told they would lay out a piping job by running strings for each pipe, taking all the measurements back to the shop and cutting and threading with steam or water power. Then haul it to the job with a horse and wagon.

    I would have like to see them put together one of the old "Snowman" or "robot" boilers as we called them with horizontal sections. Pretty hefty to lift those sections and put them in place. Old cellars with no headroom for a hoist. Don't know how they did that.
  • vicbrick
    vicbrick Member Posts: 20
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    Steamhead - will get some pictures and post them in a new/different thread when I get closer to converting the rads from steam to water. Here is a link to an add/article from the 1897 edition of "Heating and Ventilation" https://books.google.com/books?id=E31VAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA1-PA21&lpg=RA1-PA21&dq=ringen+louis+XIV&source=bl&ots=CLtks24vP8&sig=ibEa_SFgZbU_P_Cor_q-bqhhB1g&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Yr0rVb63A7eBsQS1pYCgDA&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=ringen louis XIV&f=false

    The add mentions the "new" Ringen Louis XIV rads are suitable for both steam and hot water. At some point in the near future I need sort out the best route to connect the rads to my existing manifolded / and "home runed" 1/2" PEX-AL-PEX system.

    Ebebratt - Agree, given enough time/resources/persistence most things are possible. What drives my slightly nutty is how common large rads are in older homes. I think the "dead men" had to have a well understood method/process to install the larger rads on the second/third floors....just wish I knew what their common practice was for these installation?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,890
    edited April 2015
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    Those look like standard column-type radiators, closely resembling the American Rococo radiators. As long as the sections are connected at the top as well as at the bottom, they will work on hot-water.

    If these rads are held together by rods and nuts, you should be able to get them apart to get them out of the building. You can get replacement push nipples from Oneida County Boiler Works if needed.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
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    Build a sled. 3/4" plywood, bunch of 2 X 4's. Flip radiator on its top for good stability. Strap and crib to comfort zone. Use pieces of 1/2" or 3/4" PVC as "bearings" to move it around with one hand, or use those furniture moving slider pads from HomeCheapo if floors finish are a concern. Use carpet underneath it to traverse stairs and give it a bit of glide. Control its speed from above with ropes, and stay out from in front of it just in case...

    Or, hire a moving company, and stand back and watch. I'm into working smarter and not harder :-) That's how we handled heavy stuff when I was in the biz...

    ME

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    4Johnpipe
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited April 2015
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    Build a sled. 3/4" plywood, bunch of 2 X 4's. Flip radiator on its top for good stability. Strap and crib to comfort zone. Use pieces of 1/2" or 3/4" PVC as "bearings" to move it around with one hand, or use those furniture moving slider pads from HomeCheapo if floors finish are a concern. Use carpet underneath it to traverse stairs and give it a bit of glide. Control its speed from above with ropes, and stay out from in front of it just in case...

    Or, hire a moving company, and stand back and watch. I'm into working smarter and not harder :-) That's how we handled heavy stuff when I was in the biz...

    ME

    The old dead men had an appropriate saying, still useful today.

    "Always keep one end on the ground". Let the Earth/Gravity hold up one end of the weight.

  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    Hope you can save them…I just can’t stand seeing old rads in the back of a junkies pick up…Then they go out as scrap and come back a crap….Radiator lives matter
    CanuckerRomanGK_26986764589Dave in QCA
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,075
    edited April 2015
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    I had a project to remove CI rads from 2nd floor. After nearly losing one down the stairway and thru a wall, I got a long strong 4X6 timber to straddle a window or doorway as an anchor. Then with a block & tackle could slowly let the rad down the stairs on the sled or appliance cart. (Lucky for me the utility company I worked for at the time loaned me everything I needed.)

    Just think how challenged we are today to take them downhill with gravity assist. Imagine going up a 100 years ago ;) . Maybe this is what they did with ropes & pulley then.
  • vvzz
    vvzz Member Posts: 39
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    Has anyone had any experience using powered stair climbing dollies? I've seen their promo video and they use it to move a very heavy looking commercial water heater. I'm planning on renting one to bring 2 short but long 3 column rads to the second floor.
  • Turbo Dave
    Turbo Dave Member Posts: 79
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    "Has anyone had any experience using powered stair climbing dollies? I've seen their promo video and they use it to move a very heavy looking commercial water heater. I'm planning on renting one to bring 2 short but long 3 column rads to the second floor. "
    Yes, excellent piece of equipment. The only caution I have is the feet can damage a stair tread as it hoists itself up or down to the next step. Protection is recommended. Make sure it's fully charged before you head up a staircase as well. I'm not sure how I know that....
    Charlie from wmass
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,103
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    Depends who was on the crew that day.....Me and Jimmy The Gent Burke, Ron Jr. and Tom Schwarz (Rest in peace My Hydronic Brother) have tried it all.......we always got it done with minimal to NO damage to the structure. Violent sports and powerlifting instruction at a young age certainly "saved" my back and knees ....The powermate handtruck is great...on normal stairs....We always seemed steamers on narrow, turn at the bottom stairs. Bottom line, Ill take the skinny 120lb boiler guy over a gym rat muscle head and day....Mad Dog
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,786
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    Just found this thread while searching for information on Ringen radiators. There are a couple of things that are unique. They have a single rod at the top, which passes through the center of the push nipples. Second, while most 3 column radiators are 2 1/2" wide per section, the Ringens are 2 5/8" wide. Just enough to throw you off if you're trying to replace a cracked American or US Radiator model. My memory is that these seemed to be a bunch heavier than their competition too.
    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
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,786
    edited June 2017
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    Here is a pic. You can see the centered bolt at the top. I have always wondered how the nut/bolt is sealed but have never taken one apart to find out. Anyone tried it?
    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: 16,890
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    I bet that's an ordinary pipe plug, and the rods and nuts are hidden inside.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,786
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    We've got several Ringen radiators in our house here in Rock Island. I will take a picture up close. Sure doesn't look like a pipe plug at all.
    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
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,786
    edited June 2017
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    These shots are taken on a couple of radiators in our house, running on a hot water system. Always thought these were very nice rads, but you don't see them too often.
    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,780
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    Could they be cast in such a way there's a sleeve around the rod(s)?

    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
  • MilanD
    MilanD Member Posts: 1,160
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    I am pretty sure all those big rads were hoisted up using some kind of mechanical advantage rope systems - whether it was block and tackle or some other hoisting means. There is no way these were 'carried' by a few strong men using dollies. Several old steam books I read talk about building projects and having steam men come in as the floors are being laid out so that carpenters and steam men can work together. If we can learn anything from reading old books, it is that the people living before the computer age, internal combustion engines, or even electricity, were equally intelligent at using resources known to them then (horses on location to thread 10-12" pipes, block-and-tackles, etc), and at discovering new technologies in line with their place in the space-time continuum. To me, this is quite fascinating!
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • TheKeymaster
    TheKeymaster Member Posts: 36
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    Aliens installed the old radiators just like they built the pyramids.
    Dave in QCAMilanDRomanGK_26986764589Solid_Fuel_Man
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,075
    edited June 2017
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    Aside from anti-gravitation levitation here is another idea:
    Just wired some electric hammers for church bells. Looking at these bells of a hundred years ago and weighting several hundred pounds each, being 80' off grade. The bell guy said they roped them up thru the floors. There is a trapdoor that is about 42" square in the first upper floor and with the entire steeple done there would have been a place for the sky hook. They were winched up and then the next upper floor built under them. No crane available then.

    So for huge cast iron rads, some floor boards could have been left out and a block and tackle fastened to beam spanning several ceiling rafters, maybe some temp jacks, the rads could have passed between floor joists 16" OC. Just a WAG.
    I know what back aches are and would have tried it that way if I were a dead man.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,578
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    Probably the radiator sections were carried up one by one, and then put together in the area in which they would be installed.--NBC
    JUGHNEDave in QCAGrallert
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,075
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    Yes, that is the most practical solution.
    I just wanted to tell the bell tower story as being a possibility. ;)
    Dave in QCAGrallert
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,780
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    I assumed radiators were built on site as well.

    You bought however many middle sections and end sections as needed and then put them together in place.
    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
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,786
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    I think there is little doubt that radiators were assembled on site, just like we still assemble larger sizes of cast iron boilers. I have seen vice clamp devises used to press push nipple radiators together. Apparently the rods were not considered to be strong enough to draw them together, just strong enough to hold them together. And of course American Radiators with their screw nipples had special tools to install them as well. I makes no logical sense to assemble anything other than very small radiators at the factory or in the shop when they could just as well be assembled at the installation site.

    With all that said, it still stands to reason that radiators sometimes did needed to be moved and a cart designed for that purpose is shown below. It comes from one of the U.S. Radiator catalogs.

    A few years ago I was able to salvage a couple medium sized radiators from "Overview" mansion across the street from our "Grandview Mansion" apartments. I needed a 22 section radiator and there were a couple of abandoned radiators on the second floor of Overview that totaled 30 sections. I took both radiators apart and carried the sections down, about 2 at a time to my car. Carried them over to the foyer of Grandview, and used the pieces to create a 22 section, 110 sq ft radiator to replace one that had gone missing. See photo of radiator in foyer.

    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
    MilanDSolid_Fuel_Man
  • MilanD
    MilanD Member Posts: 1,160
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    Music is nice and soothing too!

    https://youtu.be/W69J4pveRUg

    Grallert