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Antique heater

Stelcom66 Member Posts: 23
edited February 2020 in THE MAIN WALL
I wasn't sure if this is where I should post this, was looking to see if there's an antique forum. This relic is in the lobby of an HVAC business customer of mine. I asked a few times what kind of stove it was, no one knew. I then noticed the instructions reference gas, and the label on the top indicates it's a hot water heater. It was made by Ruud Manufacturing Co., Pittsburgh P.A., patented in 1904.

Sorry the photos are huge, I didn't see a way to reduce the size. Even though I'm not in the heating business I find the articles and forums on this site very interesting.



  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,409
    It is a water heater.
  • And a lovely one at that. No modern piece of heating, or hot water heater is decorated so nicely as that.
    No doubt it was made for many years of service, even though it may be now considered wasting fuel in comparison with today’s modern equivalent.—NBC
  • Stelcom66
    Stelcom66 Member Posts: 23
    edited February 2020
    Makes me wonder if there's some extremely old systems still in operation. And yes, interesting how decorating was part of the design.

    Re: the water heater collection. the one Larry is next to looks like it can also be a Ruud, and I see an R.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,868
    Hi, Yes, there are some of these heaters still running in areas that have good water, like San Francisco. Heaters like the one pictured, (which I'll guess is a Ruud 95) were designed to be attractive because they often lived in the kitchen, right near the sink, which still is the most frequently used hot water tap in the house. People back then didn't care to wait for hot water, so they put the heater close by. We had some smart ancestors!

    Yours, Larry

    ps. In the photo, I'm hanging out with Ruud, Pittsburgh and Humphrey :)
  • Stelcom66
    Stelcom66 Member Posts: 23
    Hello Larry! Interesting the water heaters were commonly in the kitchen. And attractive they sure were. I wondered at first why so much invested in the appearance if they were usually sight unseen, but they were a focal point in the house.

    Amazing there could be something that age still in operation.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,868
    Hi, These days we have three major heater makers in the US. In 1908, we had about 160 manufacturers. They used all sorts of ways to stand out from the crowd, Efficiency, durability and beauty were some of the ways. These days it’s all about first cost, which is limiting. Makes me wish for those old days. o:)

    Yours, Larry
  • Here are other utilitarian objects which have been lavishly decorated:

  • They knew their water heaters would last forever and printed the instructions on tin.

    The next time I'm in NYC, I'll bring this in and put it alongside Larry's RUUD.

    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hourTwo btu/ per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • Stelcom66
    Stelcom66 Member Posts: 23
    Wow, that may be the paperwork for the one I saw! Interesting phone number format from 50 or so years ago, a common word or name's first 2 letters preceded the phone number. Olympic 5 = 655. I'll check out the link with the other antiques.

    I need to figure out how to have this forum email me when there's a reply. Sorry for the delayed response.
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,955
    > @Stelcom66 said:
    > I need to figure out how to have this forum email me when there's a reply. Sorry for the delayed response.

    Click the Star ⭐ near the thread title.
    Erin Holohan Haskellmattmia2
  • Stelcom66
    Stelcom66 Member Posts: 23
    Thanks - I did that after I posted, and it indicated I Bookmarked the thread - but I also got the email that you replied. Good deal!
  • PRR
    PRR Member Posts: 68
    edited February 2020
    > Interesting the water heaters were commonly in the kitchen.

    "Water Heater" was a pot on the kitchen range (wood or coal fired). Later (especially with running water) the range grew a coil in the firebox and a tank on the side. While this Rudd could have stood by the range, the instructions further down the page show it sitting in the cellar and plumbed to the existing HW tank at the range which (if a fire was going) pre-heated the water. Rudd output goes to the kitchen sink (oddly, the left tap?) and any other hot water needs. Obviously when the range was changed to gas it would not have a cheap-fuel fire half the day, so the rangeside tank was scrapped and the Rudd fed cold water straight.

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,409
    The 7 digit phone numbers with a 3 digit exchange were later, 50's to 60's I think(I was actually thinking that sticker seemed like it was made after that type of water heater would have been replaced because of the 3 digit excahnge). Originally the exchange was just 2 digits, like tyler-12345
  • Stelcom66
    Stelcom66 Member Posts: 23
    >"Water Heater" was a pot on the kitchen range (wood or coal fired)...

    Reminds me I should fill the iron pot on the wood stove with water. Years ago the kitchen stove (especially wood fired) was a multi-purpose appliance, for cooking and heating.

    >The 7 digit phone numbers with a 3 digit exchange were later, 50's to 60's...

    Yes the water heater could be around 100 years old. In the 1920s, dial phone systems were just starting to evolve.

    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,354
    Back in the late 60s my grandparents were still around both in their late 80s, they had a two family in Springfield. My grandfather came over from Ireland in 1914 with nothing but the clothes on his back worked till he was in his 70s.

    Going to their house in the 60s was like stepping back in time to 1920s. They took care of the house he was always painting and fixing stuff, he was so proud of that house, it wasn't falling apart but they updated nothing. My grandfather thought that if it was good enough in 1920 it was still good

    They had some type of water heater in the kitchen next to the sink it was a big glass bottle filled with kerosein. My father was always afraid they would break it and burn the house down. And the still burned coal in the boiler in the basement, the refrigerator was natural gas fired.

    I guess compared to what they had when they were young it was like being at the Ritz
  • Piedmont is where all the rich people live and they all had Ruud water heaters and Elwyn Bobet was the guy to call when there were problems. He retired in the early 80's which was when I started in the business, so I didn't get to meet him.

    Parts were still available for these heaters from Hartford & Ratlett in Michigan twenty years ago.

    When we moved to this country in 1957, our phone number was OLympic 2-8744.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hourTwo btu/ per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,866
    You all should come by some time and take a tour of the main property I care for... superficially (and in many ways not so superficially) the objective is to maintain it as much as possible as it was around 1900, though with a few more recent amenities (central steam heat -- very late, 1930 -- and running water --1905). While still being more or less up to date beneath the surface (such as broadband wi-fi everywhere on the property, reasonably up to code plumbing and electrics). Interesting work... we did have those sidearm water heaters -- they were electric -- but unhappily they were junked in the '50s. Not that they would be in use any more, but they'd be nice atmosphere.

    The 'phones -- seven digits came to this hilltop in 1954, with private lines and dial service, only remember that they weren't thought of as seven digits. They were an exchange plus four digits. The exchange was always a word and a number -- such as here, FRontier 9, or in central Manhattan BUtterfield 8. And other than a few adjacent exchanges if you wanted to call long distance you had to book your call through an operator, and you might or might not be able to complete the call at that time. Often had to wait for a circuit to open up.

    And the butcher and grocer and baker and milkman all delivered -- just give them a call and they'd be around (hmm... seems like that one has come back again?).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,901
    That type of phone number was standardized sometime in the 1950s, about the time direct-dialed long distance was introduced. In Baltimore, phone numbers were six digits before then- two letters of an exchange name (such as LIberty) and four numbers. Later, the Bell System simply extended the exchange codes by using the third letter of the name- LIberty became LIberty-2. They could do this because the switching equipment they had- Panel (from 1921) #1 Crossbar (from 1938) and #5 Crossbar (from 1948)- could register a phone number as it was dialed and translate it into whatever the equipment needed to make the connection. So it was a relatively simple matter to reprogram the senders, translators, decoders or markers as needed.

    In other, smaller cities that used Step-by-Step switching, the job was a lot more complicated. In these systems there was no registration and translation- the dial controlled the selectors directly. EVERYTHING was hard-wired and had to be physically redone. So in places like New Orleans, you find wholesale renaming of exchanges as the system grew. They didn't want to go through that again for a long time if they could avoid it, so you might see something like JAckson 2, JAckson 3 and JAckson 5, leaving room for JAcksons 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 to be added later.

    I believe in New York City, seven-digit numbers were used from the beginning of dial service. Glenn Miller made the first NYC dial exchange famous with "PEnnsylvania 6-5000". It was a Panel, installed in 1922.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service