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Old steam boiler set up what is it for ?

JoshP
JoshP Member Posts: 43
Can anyone shed light on this international steam boiler I came across at an estate sale? Specifically the large OZ gauge indicator is and what it does. This system was still in use too in case you were wondering. In Utica NY 

Comments

  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,656
    OZ is ounces for pressure.  So that would indicate system pressure, but I’d speculate it used to control the damper when the boiler was coal fired.

    There is obviously a linkage connection there that’s been disconnected.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    Charlie from wmass
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,557
    There may have been some pulleys on the ceiling that might control both front air inlet damper and rear flue exhaust damper. It would have been chain connected.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,344
    I'm going to make some guesses here, but it looks to me as though the top pipe is connected to a return -- a dry return, most likely -- and the bottom pipe is connected to the boiler return.

    If so... wandering a bit further out on the limb -- if there is a float in that arc it will rise as the boiler pressure increases, and the dimensions look about right for it to just about read differential pressure between the boiler (and steam mains) and the dry return.

    And then, as @KC_Jones suggested and @JUGHNE sort of confirmed, it could easily have operated a damper.

    Ingenious, if so...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,428
    Some of us here are older than dirt and that control is older than that!!
    ethicalpaul
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,353
    Look for The Vapor Regulator Company in The Lost Art of Steam Heating. It controlled the damper. 
    Retired and loving it.
    Charlie from wmass
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 453
    Well, it looks like that at least one of us is "older than dirt". Geeze, I am 77 and have only seen 1 of these. You are right as usual DAN. As the water level rises in the lower pipe which raises the float in that water level control due to the coal fire producing more steam pressure, a set of chains closes the underfire air damper to reduce the coal burn rate. (similar to a modulating oil/gas burner).
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,711
    Actually, that one was made by the American District Steam Co- a.k.a. "ADSCO". It works the same way, but the radiators on this system might use orifice valves instead of water seals. So that brings the total of companies that made this type of regulator to three- Vapor Regulator Co, ADSCO and Simplex, which made the Wiley:

    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/comment/1546585#Comment_1546585

    @JoshP , how about some pics of the radiators? Also, how is the air vented from that system (maybe a vent on the overhead return line)?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • JoshP
    JoshP Member Posts: 43
    The house was open for an estate sale yesterday it’s only a couple blocks from my house if I have a chance I’ll walk over and see if they are open today and get some more pictures. The house definitely hasn’t been updated much since the 60s and I would guess it was probably built around the 1920s a real time capsule 
  • JoshP
    JoshP Member Posts: 43
    I will also bet the house is going up for sale soon and that system will be removed and probably scrapped. If anyone wants parts for the steam heating Hall of Fame I’ll see if I can catch them while they’re ripping the system out
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 687
    Retired guy got that right.

    At 80 some of my memory is a bit fuzzy, so here is my best shot.

    I have seen 2 of these in my time.

    Both were in the Incorporated Village of Tuxedo N.Y.

    They were in Massive homes that sported 2-250 HRT boilers each and had 5000 gallons of oil stored on site.

    Can't remember the Architects name, he designed a good portion of the buildings in Washington D.C.

    These two buildings I am referring to were built in 1920'

    Jake
  • JoshP
    JoshP Member Posts: 43
    what’s this loop for ? Trap?
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,428
    Looks like a loop seal. Takes the place of a steam trap
  • JoshP
    JoshP Member Posts: 43
    No traps at
    no traps at these rads
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 687
    As Ebratt said

    The loop seal replaces the use for a steam trap
    The loop seal needs to cleaned of any debris that may have collected there since 1922.

    The boiler is covered with what appears to be asbestos, it needs to be encapsulated because the insulation is friable.

    Jake
  • JoshP
    JoshP Member Posts: 43
    Oh its friable. They said the house was sold. I’ll bet it will be replaced with a new Utica boiler or similar . Probably be someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing 
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,711
    @JoshP , have the new owners post on this board. We can set them straight.

    The main vent (green thing) is way too small for this system. Remember that's the only air vent in the entire system, and if it's too small the system won't heat well. I'd replace it with a Gorton #2.

    It looks like the original ADSCO valves have been replaced. The radiators may need orifices added to the existing valves. The radiator return connections are probably standard union elbows that don't keep steam from reaching the returns. Orifices will keep the steam from entering the returns as long as the pressure is kept low.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 453
    Haven't seen many of those Gordon burners. It must be a precursor to the Gordon Piatt burner which always gave me a headache. I was glad to see them go bye byes.
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,011
    Very cool that the original boiler is still in service!
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,058
    That is a lot of duct tape!
  • JoshP
    JoshP Member Posts: 43
    Duct tape?.. that’s called a asbestos barrier tape !  
    SlamDunkmattmia2
  • BoilerRoom
    BoilerRoom Member Posts: 3
    Wow, so I was at that same estate sale and was marvelling at the set up there!  I also live only a few blocks away!  I spoke to the estate salespeople and one of them said the new owners wanted to preserve as much as they could.
  • jep
    jep Member Posts: 6
    I just love these posts . . . there is a little bit of everything: history, culture, art, physics, environmental safety . . . .and great humor! Thank you sooooo much! I have a 1957 American Standard boiler running the water through 110 year old radiators. During our years in the house (1961-present) we have changed the motor twice and the pump once. My nephew rented a house with other student friends in Iowa. The converted (coal to gas?) boiler in the basement is still chugging away. I would guess it is from the 20's or 30's. By the 40's, it seems that most boilers I've seen had "sheet metal" jackets to give them a "modern look". The water pipe feeds and riser and gas feeds look so similar to my set up. The jumble of controls, wires, thermocouplers etc are hidden in my sleek and modern boiler from 1957. I suspect the core controls are very much the same.
  • jep
    jep Member Posts: 6
    Curiosity killed the cat: How big is this house? Huge old Victorian? Framed 4 square? 2 floors and finished attic? Were such "decorative radiators" produced in the 20s and 30s? Or do they suggest pre-1920 manufacture?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,711
    jep said:

    I just love these posts . . . there is a little bit of everything: history, culture, art, physics, environmental safety . . . .and great humor! Thank you sooooo much! I have a 1957 American Standard boiler running the water through 110 year old radiators. During our years in the house (1961-present) we have changed the motor twice and the pump once. My nephew rented a house with other student friends in Iowa. The converted (coal to gas?) boiler in the basement is still chugging away. I would guess it is from the 20's or 30's. By the 40's, it seems that most boilers I've seen had "sheet metal" jackets to give them a "modern look". The water pipe feeds and riser and gas feeds look so similar to my set up. The jumble of controls, wires, thermocouplers etc are hidden in my sleek and modern boiler from 1957. I suspect the core controls are very much the same.

    That boiler is probably about 40% efficient, according to one of my Dead Men's Books. That's why they get replaced even if they're still working.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,711
    jep said:

    Curiosity killed the cat: How big is this house? Huge old Victorian? Framed 4 square? 2 floors and finished attic? Were such "decorative radiators" produced in the 20s and 30s? Or do they suggest pre-1920 manufacture?

    Those aren't decorative radiators- they just have a lot of peeling paint on them. They probably never heated up all the way because of that pathetically small main vent.

    The last year they were made was 1925 or so.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • JoshP
    JoshP Member Posts: 43
    Wow, so I was at that same estate sale and was marvelling at the set up there!  I also live only a few blocks away!  I spoke to the estate salespeople and one of them said the new owners wanted to preserve as much as they could.
    I live on proctor blvd myself. Where are you ? I have steam heat in my house. 1960s American Standard still going strong but I may do a post of an issue I seam to have.  
  • JoshP
    JoshP Member Posts: 43
    jep said:
    Curiosity killed the cat: How big is this house? Huge old Victorian? Framed 4 square? 2 floors and finished attic? Were such "decorative radiators" produced in the 20s and 30s? Or do they suggest pre-1920 manufacture?
    Yes it was peeling paint. I’ve learned the house was in the same family since it was built in the early 1920s. It’s a craftsman / bungalow style house I think it was 4 bedroom probably around 1600 sq ft maybe a little more parts were closed off for the sale 
  • FrankB101
    FrankB101 Member Posts: 8
    This is a coal fired boiler converted to natural gas. When it was coal fired by hand (shoveling the lump coal into the firebox) that pressure control opened and closed dampers to regulate the fire. More open more air hotter fire more steam, etc. I have cleaned many of those in my day and replaced hundreds.