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Richardson Boiler

ScottSecor Member Posts: 721
Looked at a job today with a Richardson oil fired boiler that may have been coal fired originally. The boiler rating tag is missing, so I was hoping someone may be able to help out with identification. All of the models I've found online were cast iron. I think this model may be steel fire-tube based on my photos. Even part of the boiler cabinet is welded.

System is gravity hot water, piping looks real odd. For example the boiler outlet apears to be fitted with two custom fitted welded elbows, boiler breaching is welded 6" heavy gauge sheet metal, return has high pressure fittings. Maybe installer was learning welding and pipe-fitting and decided to practice at home? Despite all of the oddities the boiler did last over fifty years (maybe sixty or seventy). I asked if there was an open expansion tank in the attic and the customer confirmed there was.

Current owner is also a little odd....he told me he removed the electric water heater a few years ago because it sprung a leak. Nothing unusual there, but....he never replaced it, he hasn't had hot water for a few years.


  • GBart
    GBart Member Posts: 746
    edited May 2018
    Looks like it has a Taco tankless coil which then goes into the exhaust to catch more heat for h/w.........??? someone did this up themselves.......reminds of this really old Thatcher where they used some heavy gauge pipe for the exhaust and it went in a circular loop to extract more heat into the basement, PITA to clean.

    Make damn sure the stack relay actually has a safety function before leaving that, anyone who converted that to a Beckett and didn't upgrade to a cadcell should be drawn and quartered.
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 721
    GBart, the boiler is basically condemned, as such I'm not too worried about the stack relay. I haven't touched a stack relay in twenty years, but I certainly remember them pretty well.

    I'm curious about the age of the boiler and I'm assuming that beneath the jacket it's covered with asbestos. Anybody know anything about this model? Based on the last photo (camera inside combustion chamber pointed upwards) it certainly looks like a vertical steel tube boiler, but the "tubes" are missing the typical beveled lip that sticks out about 1/4" past the tube sheet.
  • GBart
    GBart Member Posts: 746
    I guarantee you it has asbestos underneath.

    Richardson ran from about 1837 to 1942, that must be one of the final units, I can't find anything that looks like it, earlier models yes, but not that one. When was the house built?
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 721
    I found that and another slightly more recent Richardson boiler catalog online as well. Just by the design I would have suspected this unit is more like 1950 or thereabouts? After more digging, I think the boiler may be a Richardson model "SCOTLO Steel Series?"

    I'm told house was built in the early 1900's. From the piping it appears that the two outermost two inch steel threaded supplies are from the original heating system. The boiler may have been replaced in say the 1950's with this unit that someone decided to weld in the new 'low loss header' and 'closely spaced tees/elbows?'
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,770

    Looks like a steel boiler all right.

    My guess is it was installed during the 40s reason being during the war everything was converted to the war effort (factories etc). From what I was told pipe and fittings were real scares you got whatever you could get.

    My uncles house they put the boiler in in the 40s. It was mostly a copper HW system but what a mess. Long radius elbows, short radius elbows, mitered pipe etc etc. It was all they could get

    That tee on top of the boiler looks like was made by cutting up and welding 2 Long radius weld elbows.

    Also I don't believe it was stick or arc welded. Looks like it is oxy acytelene welded.

    Took a boiler out in an old school built in 1939. When the pipe covering was stripped off on the header they had made a 4 x 2 reducer by cutting a pipe and oxy welded it. I cut it off to save it but it got mixed in with the scrap
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,247
    edited May 2018
    ITS AN RA117A

    Is the original conversion burner laying in a corner? Can I see?
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 721
    Thanks for the info guys, starting to make sense. Did not see the original burner, but based on he amount of stuff in the basement, I would not be surprised if the old burner is laying around under the cobwebs somewhere.
  • 1Matthias
    1Matthias Member Posts: 148
    That looks more like stick welding, 6010 (or 11) in my opinion. You don't get that much spatter with oxy welding.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,234
    GBart said:

    Make damn sure the stack relay actually has a safety function before leaving that, anyone who converted that to a Beckett and didn't upgrade to a cadcell should be drawn and quartered.

    You can still get the box that mounts on the burner chassis to hold a cad-cell primary- part # 5770. And ignitors for those burners all have slots for cad-cell brackets. We see this stuff often enough that we keep these parts around.

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • GBart
    GBart Member Posts: 746
    edited May 2018
    Honestly the company went out in 1942, bear in mind that due to the war not much sold and manufacturing did not pick up again until 46, most manufacturing had switched to a war time supply in 41, that's why you see no 42-45 cars, not sure about this company but this could have been sold after 42, years after.

    The date it was installed will never be known, don't go by the boiler anyway for sizing new, do a load calc and see what you have for emitters currently.
  • GBart
    GBart Member Posts: 746
    edited May 2018
    .....you know if you really look at your pics the cabinet is welded too, this was not a factory thing, my opinion is this was cobbled together by a returning GI after the war who gained a lot of mechanical and welding abilities in the war, probably used an army surplus arc welder, after the war for the first few years people made stuff, they took anything and made it work because they learned this during the war, reusing things became a necessity, I even found an airplane wing being used as an oil tank in someones front yard, it blew my mind, I wasn't getting any oil so I stuck the tank and my stick went down about 12", called my service manager on the radio and he just laughed because he knew.