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Trying to date my old boiler

PkTaylor
PkTaylor Member Posts: 16
It's was made by the National Radiator Company. Name plate calls it the "National Internal Tube Gas Boiler." US Patent no 1960310. size number 6-30. serial number B-4287. AGA Rating: Sq ft steam 900, sq ft water 1440. I found patent number 1960310A from 1934, but I'm seeing history that says the National Radiator Company was folded into the National Radiator Corporation in 1930. Either way, I'm amazed it's still working. It needs a new pump and the repair companies are pushing a new boiler but I'm hesitant to retire something that has lasted probably 80+ years, especially when new models have life expectancies between 15 and 20 years. Am I crazy to want to keep this old boiler?
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Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,264
    Post some pics. If this is what I think it is, it's full of asbestos. And if it still has its original gas train, it probably no longer meets Code.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 2,983
    edited May 4
    Another dating request on HH? This is turning into a regular Tinder alternative.

    Next thing you know... we are going to start seeing "Boiler Porn"
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
    ron
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 67

    Another dating request on HH? This is turning into a regular Tinder alternative.

    Next thing you know... we are going to start seeing "Boiler Porn"

    Be careful what you type into Google Ed
    bburdMikeAmann
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,813
    Another dating request on HH? This is turning into a regular Tinder alternative. Next thing you know... we are going to start seeing "Boiler Porn"
    I never got a picture of the Thatcher in this house!
    PC7060
  • PkTaylor
    PkTaylor Member Posts: 16


  • PkTaylor
    PkTaylor Member Posts: 16

  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 547
    @PkTaylor I may be way off,  but that doesn't look that old to me.  Without any more photos or the books in my office I would guess 1950's or 1960's.  I'm sure others (like Steamhead) could  probably tell you the day and the week it was manufactured (lol).
    wlgann
  • PkTaylor
    PkTaylor Member Posts: 16
    that's all I have on hand, I can get a couple more later. Thanks for the potential asbestos warning. If we do replace it, I will make sure the technicians are able to dispose of any hazardous materials safely.
  • PkTaylor
    PkTaylor Member Posts: 16
    It's a little over five feet high, six feet long, a big black box. There is a large water canister that hangs above it, and a pump on one end.
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,877
    How old is the house ?
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,279
    edited May 5
    If the circulator is original it is probably post wwii. the tridicator being marked in altitude as well as psig definitely is older, it was definitely at a time when it might have used with an open expansion tank, probably as a replacement boiler.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,900
    Probably 40s ish
    reggi
  • PkTaylor
    PkTaylor Member Posts: 16
    The house is from the 1870s.
    reggi
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 320
    What style are your radiators or convectors? Can you post a photo?

    Bburd
  • wlgann
    wlgann Member Posts: 14
    edited May 5
    National Radiator merged with US Radiator in 1954. The patent mentioned in the plaque was filed in 1931. The lettering on the plaque and gauge scream 1950s to me, so I'd put it toward the later end of the 1931-1954 range, maybe as early as 1948 but probably no earlier due to metal appropriation during World War II.
  • PkTaylor
    PkTaylor Member Posts: 16
    Radiator pics
    PC7060
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 320
    edited May 5
    Those radiators and valves are older than that boiler by many decades. The boiler is not original to the heating system, it’s at least the second one in the house.

    Bburd
    mattmia2PkTaylorScottSecor
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,877
    I would agree , Converted from coil to gas with a boiler replacement . Casting was pre World War 2 or just after . There would be date codes in the casting somewhere if you really need to know ..
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
    PkTaylor
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,264
    Except for the last one, those radiators are American Rococos. The last one is probably an Aetna Flue Window Radiator, also made by American Radiator.

    These classic beauties went out of production in 1920 or so.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    PkTaylor
  • PkTaylor
    PkTaylor Member Posts: 16
    Thank you to everyone who has weighed in on this. Big Ed, you are right it was coal power prior to the boiler. I don't really need the date, just trying to decide if it's worth replacing the old boiler or if that thing will keep chugging along for another decade or two. I'm very grateful for the asbestos info. Don't want to give any lung cancer!
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 179
    @PkTaylor best guess after reviewing some other of the companies that followed
    Serial number B 4287 ... the first two numbers following the letter (s) of the serial number indicates the year of production.. the one's that follow could be Month Day etc. But I'd pretty much narrow it down to 1942 by it's serial number.
    Now when it was actually produced may be a story for Historians with the war effort as already mentioned 
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
    Larry Weingarten
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 320
    A combustion efficiency test with proper instruments might help with your decision. Boilers from that period were extremely well-made, as you have discovered. However, parts for the original burners are almost certainly no longer available. Those should be looked at very carefully.

    Bburd
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,279
    Steamhead said:

    Post some pics. If this is what I think it is, it's full of asbestos. And if it still has its original gas train, it probably no longer meets Code.

    Pictures of the gas control train would be a great idea. If it is just not total shutoff that probably isn't so bad especially if it is natural gas. If it is some gas pressure controlled modulating setup or something like that then it probably isn't particularly safe.

  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,721
    Do we ever get to see the entire boiler??

    Piping and gas valve??
    mattmia2PC7060
  • PkTaylor
    PkTaylor Member Posts: 16

  • PkTaylor
    PkTaylor Member Posts: 16
    We had some leaks from the pump,  thus the bucket
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 179
    Did you recently aquire this or do you have history with this system ? Just curious how it heated and ran up to this point..Or if it's pretty much new to you and your starting from a unknown... 
    To me it's interesting that it may of been in production/produced in 1942 if the serial number interpretation is correct 
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,264
    Late 1940s- mid 1950s. These were common in Baltimore houses from that era.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Jersey2
    Jersey2 Member Posts: 98
    Those radiators are something. Works of art.
    I'm not a plumber or hvac man and my thoughts in comments are purely for conversation.
  • PkTaylor
    PkTaylor Member Posts: 16
    We've had the house since 2013 and never had a problem with it. Just the pump went out now and the technicians were suggesting that we might save a bunch with a more efficient system, but I'm not totally convinced. This thing has lasted for a long time and might continue for a good while yet. And the life expectancy of the new system was 10-15 years.... I think the pitot light went out once in the time we've been running it.
    reggi
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,279
    Get someone that knows what they are doing, not the people who are trying to sell you a new boiler, to clean and adjust it and test the safeties. A new boiler could be a bit more efficient but not enough to pay for replacing it. Replacing it won't be cost effective until you see water leaking out of it.

    A picture of the gas controls with the front cover off would be good too to make sure it isn't anything crazy.
    reggiPkTaylor
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 179
    Steamhead said:
    Late 1940s- mid 1950s. These were common in Baltimore houses from that era.
    Hmmm Still when you see it now the color  even looks like Olive Drab 3 ... There is a stamp over on the Size # ... 
    Maybe it was produced for the military and when they didn't need it (them) they were sold and ended up installed..????  
    That would be a super cool history though maybe a stretch.... but then again...the color looks like Military Color Olive Drab 3... probably a coincidence 🕵️‍♂️
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,279
    Oh, and get those plastic shopping bags away from the vent. that pulley on the ceiling had a chain over it that was part of the controls for the coal boiler.
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 179
    mattmia2 said:
    Oh, and get those plastic shopping bags away from the vent. that pulley on the ceiling had a chain over it that was part of the controls for the coal boiler.
    He dates the house to the 1870''s
     Butz invented the Damper Regulator 1880's but things get moving until Sweats ? bought it and took it to the people around the turn of the century..I think... People didn't have electricity and well that was start of it all.. Historic House 
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,279
    It was probably heated by stoves or fireplaces in the 1870's, the first boiler was probably later.
    reggi
  • PkTaylor
    PkTaylor Member Posts: 16
    Yes, it was heated by fireplaces and stoves

    mattmia2reggiCLambPC7060
  • PkTaylor
    PkTaylor Member Posts: 16
    mattmia2 said:

    Get someone that knows what they are doing, not the people who are trying to sell you a new boiler, to clean and adjust it and test the safeties. A new boiler could be a bit more efficient but not enough to pay for replacing it. Replacing it won't be cost effective until you see water leaking out of it.

    A picture of the gas controls with the front cover off would be good too to make sure it isn't anything crazy.

    I'm not sure where the gas controls/front cover are, but I will try it to figure it out. The bad news... last time when I went down to take pictures, I stepped on a live rat (who thankfully didn't bite me) and then my dog saved me by killing it.
    In_New_England
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,279
    That big panel on the front with the chrome handle at the top. you should turn the handle one way or the other and that panel probably tips out at the top then the bottom lifts out. If you see something that looks like gray corrugated cardboard, that is asbestos paper, try not to disturb it.
    In_New_England
  • PkTaylor
    PkTaylor Member Posts: 16

  • PkTaylor
    PkTaylor Member Posts: 16
    I'm assuming that is asbestos on the door