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When you look at old photos?

bob eck
bob eck Member Posts: 930
When you look at old photos and see old cast iron radiators do you ever just look at them and wonder what type of heating system they are connected to and the people way back in the day that built the radiators on site and installed the boiler and the complete system.

1915 photo shows the laboratory at the Neuweiler Brewery that created the various brews made and sold by the company. Located on Front St., Allentown, PA.

I am told they brewed some great beer back in the day.

No longer in business.
RomanGK_26986764589PittsburghRowHouse
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Comments

  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 930
    Any old photos that you can post?
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
    Bob, that's a really great old photo! Another thing I notice is the excessively tall ceilings. The few turn of the century buildings we have in my area all have 10+foot ceilings as well.

    I bet that iron in the brewing lab received its BTU's from coal, especially in PA. Some poor soul's job was shoveling that stuff in and the dirty job of removing tons of ash, all while operating those boilers (most likely steam, but maybe gravity water).
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
    Great pic, Bob. I love seeing old pictures of radiators, boilers too. Especially the old advertisements of oil burning boilers in the middle of a kid's playroom in the basement, everything is pristine. The older black and white movies have some great shots of classic radiators. I'm pretty sure Dan's keen interest in the history of hydronics sparked that in me too.
    Steve Minnich
    RomanGK_26986764589
  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 930
    Solid fuel man yes the ceilings are at least 10' might be 12' high no A/C back in the day open the windows at the top and let the hot air out.

    I live in a house with 10' ceilings built in late 1800's over the front and back doirs there were windows that back in the day they opened in the summer to get the heat out.

    I still have big cast iron radiators connected to a Triangle Tube PE110 Nat Gas boiler piped P/S and the heating system works great all radiators heat up great.
    Saved a ton of cash heating with natural gas vs oil the last 8 heating seasons.

    Nothing wrong with a good oil boiler piped the correct way on a system like I have but just decided to switch from oil to natural gas.

    Let's see house was heated with coal then oil now natural gas what will the future be?

    When I had a old 1976 W/M cast iron oil boiler the radiators on the first floor got hot and turned the thermostat off before the second floor radiators got hot.

    That oil boiler should have been piped P/S
  • John Mills_5
    John Mills_5 Member Posts: 951
    The house I grew up in, built in 1911, was coal gravity later converted to oil judging from the plugged fill hole in the wall. In the 50s a gas National US Radiator boiler was installed. Worked great, decent bills, but in 1988 the gas valve stuck open and a year later it split open. An induced draft W-M was installed, no bypass, cold start, heated OK but since it didn't have a hot belly like the old one, too some time from a cold start. Folks moved about a year after so no idea how long the Weil lasted as installed.
  • bob_46
    bob_46 Member Posts: 813
    Transom.
    bob
  • flat_twin
    flat_twin Member Posts: 350
    Our house was built in 1850. This photo is from a 1912 postcard when the house was one of two hotels in town. The house to the left was owned by the same family. A butcher shop was downstairs and the upstairs were additional hotel rooms connected to the hotel by a catwalk. The butcher shop house now sits two blocks away on another street.
    The two chimneys in the photo are gone . The exterior chimney (recently abandoned by our NG modcon installation) that served the coal and later oil boiler on the right side of the house hasn't been built yet per this photo. In the 1930's this house was a duplex shared by two brothers and their families. I know where the dividing walls were and the placement of the cast iron radiators makes me think the hydronic central heat and the creation of the duplex happened at the same time.
    When my parents bought this house in the 1960's, there was a large coal converted to oil boiler in the basement. Evidence of a coal bin, coal dust and a few little chunks were still there. Since then, the big boiler has been replaced by two fuel oil boilers and now a NG modcon boiler. The distribution piping and radiators are unchanged other than I shortened one huge radiator for a remodel.

    [URL=s112.photobucket.com/user/flat_twin/media/11990633_920960197979296_1272134690211010026_n_zpsigwjvpxe.jpg.html][IMG]http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n163/flat_twin/11990633_920960197979296_1272134690211010026_n_zpsigwjvpxe.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

  • flat_twin
    flat_twin Member Posts: 350
    edited February 2017


    This 1912 postcard photo of our house (built in 1850) shows two wood or coal stove chimneys. The chimney that served the coal and later oil fired boilers hasn't been built yet. In the 1930's the house was a duplex occupied by two brothers and their families. I know where the dividing wall was and the placement of the radiators makes me think the hydronic central heat system was installed while it was a duplex. It had been restored to a single family dwelling by the time my family bought it in the mid 1960's.
    I remember the old coal bin in the cellar and a huge cast iron boiler. Since then there have been two oil fired boilers and now a NG modcon boiler providing hot water to the same old pipes and radiators.
    The house on the left was owned by the same family that ran the hotel. They had a butcher shop downstairs and used the upstairs for additional hotel rooms. The two buildings were connected by a catwalk. At some point this building was moved two blocks to another street and is still standing.

    New boiler in a very old cellar


    Before central heat in the 30's they may have used these



  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,664
    I wish I could find any old pictures with our house in it. I've tried and tried and tried.

    I found some from around 1900 of our road when it was dirt with a street car and horses, but the house is just out of view to the left.

    It originally appears to have had 3 coal stoves, 1 in each bedroom and one in the basement below the livingroom/diningroom and I would assume a cooking stove piped somewhere other than the main chimney.

    In the mid 1920s the steam system was installed.

    House was built sometime between 1863 and 1873.

    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
    RomanGK_26986764589wyo
  • My house was built in 1926. I only was able to find an old map with my street on it. But no pictures unfortunately. There's a historical society in my town, maybe they would have something.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    You would be surprised at how many streetscape photos your public library has in their archives. I'd check there, as well as any local historical Societies and your County records. When checking your library, look through fiche/film and search on your address as well.
    RomanGK_26986764589
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,516
    edited February 2017
    My grandfather came over on the boat started with nothing but managed to buy a fairly new (but not brand new two family) soon after he arrived.

    He had the gravity warm air ripped out and had two steam boilers piped counter flow installed. This was about 1915.

    when he died we found the bill for the two coal boilers, 13 radiators and piping $750.00

    1948 he had an electrician come in and change the electric service from 30A to 60 A (each floor). I don't remember the cost but it was cheap.

    The bill was 2-3 pages long, they itemized Everything. # of 8d nails, # 0f screws etc.

    Don't know if they did that on every job or if it was caused by my Grandfathers "Frugality"

    Ah, the good old days!!
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,664

    My grandfather came over on the boat started with nothing but managed to buy a fairly new (but not brand new two family) soon after he arrived.

    He had the gravity warm air ripped out and had two steam boilers piped counter flow installed. This was about 1915.

    when he died we found the bill for the two coal boilers, 13 radiators and piping $750.00

    1948 he had an electrician come in and change the electric service from 30A to 60 A (each floor). I don't remember the cost but it was cheap.

    The bill was 2-3 pages long, they itemized Everything. # of 8d nails, # 0f screws etc.

    Don't know if they did that on every job or if it was caused by my Grandfathers "Frugality"

    Ah, the good old days!!

    Yeah,
    The good old days........

    What cost $750 in 1915 would cost $18,057.59 in 2016.
    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
    RomanGK_26986764589Solid_Fuel_ManMilanD
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Have to put that in perspective with what the weekly paycheck was at that time too and how much harder everyone worked to get that pay.
  • ChrisJ said:

    My grandfather came over on the boat started with nothing but managed to buy a fairly new (but not brand new two family) soon after he arrived.

    He had the gravity warm air ripped out and had two steam boilers piped counter flow installed. This was about 1915.

    when he died we found the bill for the two coal boilers, 13 radiators and piping $750.00

    1948 he had an electrician come in and change the electric service from 30A to 60 A (each floor). I don't remember the cost but it was cheap.

    The bill was 2-3 pages long, they itemized Everything. # of 8d nails, # 0f screws etc.

    Don't know if they did that on every job or if it was caused by my Grandfathers "Frugality"

    Ah, the good old days!!

    Yeah,
    The good old days........

    What cost $750 in 1915 would cost $18,057.59 in 2016.
    Holy cow that was really expensive in 1915!
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,516
    @Jamie Hall Looks good!
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Beautiful @Jamie Hall !
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,118
    What is the building used for, Jamie?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    In 1915 you were earning an average salary if you earned 687 dollars a year. 13.21 a week.

    So that 687 dollars would be 16067.00 in 2015 dollars. Average salary in 2015 a touch over 53k a year.

    Over a years salary for a heating system back then. The average house costed 3200.00

    What did your grandfather do for a living?

    You know the value of the dollar is in the toilet when a lottery jack pot can hit a billion dollars not long ago.
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,275
    hot rod said:

    What is the building used for, Jamie?

    It's a residence -- for me, my wife and my daughter -- in a small part of it, and the rest is a museum, open to the public on request (no regular hours). Most of it, and the furnishings, has not been changed -- just restored -- since 1895, and the concept is to illustrate how some of the big summer "cottages" for folks with cash lived in the summers when they retreated from New York.

    It's also used for chamber music and piano concerts (that was one of the original activities) and it's an art gallery. There are two summer (well, three season) cottages, one of which is used as a summer rental on occasion (the other is an art gallery and a music studio). The rest of the property is a working farm.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    bob eckRomanGK_26986764589
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,516
    @Gordy, just worked for the City of Springfield in the DPW shoveled Snow & road tar. Didn't make much money, saved every penny. When he died in 1972 @92 the house was in 1920 condition. House was in good shape but was like walking into 1920.

    Burned coal until he died, they had converted the first floor (which was rented) to oil a few years before that. Guess the tenants didn't like coal. Never had a car or drivers license.

    Every month he walked downtown (a few miles down and back)and stopped at all the banks. Had about 5 savings accounts. Had them put the intrest in the old bank books. He thought if he didn't the banks would "cheat him out of it"

    After he died it was converted to oil 2d floor. He always wanted the second floor. "didn't want anyone living over his head"
    bob eck
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    I guess to put into perspective one would have to pin down what an identical system today would cost. Certainly not over a years wages for the average wages of today.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,516
    @Jamie Hall I am sure that keeps you occupied!!
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,275

    @Jamie Hall I am sure that keeps you occupied!!

    Something like that...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,703
    why am I thinking about a movie, and Jack Nickelson ?
    no offence
    known to beat dead horses
    Gordy
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    Redrum.....
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,477
    I had an Uncle Fritz who worked for 60 years designing machinery, after he designed it he would go with the machine and install it. Most of the stuff got installed in factories in the south or South America.

    Fritz lived on the third floor of a 3 decker on the hill that overlooks Franklin Field. All his life he had steak and eggs for breakfast. On weekends and after retiring (at 80) he used to walk down that hill to buy a copy of the Morning herald. To sustain him on the walk up that steep hill he'd stop at the local watering hole for a shot and a beer. The Herold published 5 editions a day in those days and he walked down the hill to buy every one of them and he fortified himself for each walk back up that hill. On s Saturdays he'd buy himself a quart of VO along with the last edition of the Herald to tide him over Sunday, only one edition on Sunday. He always bought the best quality he could but he always drove a hard bargain to get what he wanted.

    Fritz passed when he was 88, he died clean - massive stroke probably dead before he hit the floor. His niece found $20k in gold certificates in his closet while they were cleaning out the apartment. He had lost money during the depression when so many banks failed so he always kept cash handy. That money made things a lot easier for his niece and her parents in the 60's.

    That generation was tough, they did whatever it took to get the job done, we could use men like them now with country foundering the way it is.

    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
    Gordy
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,516
    They certainly were tough. We are so spoiled now. I think about WWII. I wasn't around but the stories of ALL the factories shutting down there own businesses and turning all production over to the war effort. You couldn't buy pipe, copper tubing, cars, food everything was tough.

    It scares me to think were would we be if we had to do that now?? I don't want to know that answer.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    edited February 2017
    Sometimes I have the thought that maybe this country needs to live through once again.......It might tone things down a bit.

    My Grandma, and Grandpa had the stories to share. It does not sink in until you are older.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,664
    Gordy said:

    Sometimes I have the thought that maybe this country needs to live through one again.......It might tone things down a bit.



    My Grandma, and Grandpa had the stories to share. It does not sink in until you are older.


    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
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    Is it?

    Sometimes people have to know how bad it can get before they realize how good they have it.......they didn't have all the safety nets we do today back then.
    BobC
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,516
    @Gordy, I agree. All you would need to shut down the mellenials down would be to kill there phone service.

    They would immediately melt down and be in tears
    Solid_Fuel_Manrick in Alaska
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,664
    > @EBEBRATT-Ed said:
    > @Gordy, I agree. All you would need to shut down the mellenials down would be to kill there phone service.
    >
    > They would immediately melt down and be in tears

    wonder how the hard working Millenials on this forum feel about this.
    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
    Solid_Fuel_ManCanucker
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    edited February 2017
    My comments focus on the reality of the Era. The hard work, and hurdles they had to overcome. With out any, or very little help from government.

    The roaring twenties realized huge wealth accumulation through the stock market. Similar to what we experienced as a bubble before 08. With the stock market, and housing market. When the crash happened there were not the following safety nets back in those times.

    No FDIC.
    Welfare
    Unemployment insurance
    401k
    Employer provided Health insurance
    Bankruptcy laws

    Just to name a few.

    Imagine losing your job, but having saved a substantial sum of money. Then going to withdraw it, and the bank says sorry it's gone....that alone. You have NOTHING, and NO programs to get you through the dilemma.

    I have much admiration for the people that built this country in those times. Call me old fashioned.
    Tinman
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,664
    Gordy said:

    My comments focus on the reality of the Era. The hard work, and hurdles they had to overcome. With out any, or very little help from government.

    The roaring twenties realized huge wealth accumulation through the stock market. Similar to what we experienced as a bubble before 08. With the stock market, and housing market. When the crash happened there were not the following safety nets back in those times.

    No FDIC.
    Welfare
    Unemployment insurance
    401k
    Employer provided Health insurance
    Bankruptcy laws

    Just to name a few.

    Imagine losing your job, but having saved a substantial sum of money. Then going to withdraw it, and the bank says sorry it's gone....that alone. You have NOTHING, and NO programs to get you through the dilemma.

    I have much admiration for the people that built this country in those times. Call me old fashioned.


    This all coming from Captain I hate my apartment because the forced air blows a "cold blast" on me every time it turns on for 2 seconds..........

    You've got it so rough there princess. :)

    My comment was more along the lines of we don't need another world war, it'll likely be our last.

    And to @EBEBRATT-Ed lay off the Millennials, there are plenty of hard working and intelligent ones on this forum. No, I'm not one, I'm usually considered part of Gen X.




    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
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,516
    @ChrisJ , your obviously a lot smarter that I am.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,664

    @ChrisJ , your obviously a lot smarter that I am.

    I disagree.

    But I do know for a fact there are a few very hard working and intelligent Millennials on this forum.

    I'm gen X my self.


    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
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    Chris, you know when someone uses an umbrella statement about generations. Most people realize there is the good, and the bad in each generation. Most people.

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,275
    Bunch of young whippersnappers. I'm not quite of the greatest generation -- but I am plenty old enough to remember my dad and my uncles coming home from the war... :)
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England