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Gorton One-Pipe Vapor System (El Gordo and Steamhead)

Christian Egli
Christian Egli Member Posts: 277
Thanks for sharing. Thanks for saving one more system.

With the smaller runouts, did they plan on a larger pressure drop along the system? What pressure is the boiler set at? What do you think the A dimension would measure up to be?

Did they use increased slope on the runouts?

I see El Gordo is doing fine.

Best regards.


  • Joe Grosso
    Joe Grosso Member Posts: 307
    In the 1920s

    Gorton, maker of the #2 and other air vents we love, marketed this "affordable" Vapor system. I think the #2 vent was originally designed for this system. Here's their ad in the ASHVE 1924 Guide- look at those recommended pipe sizes and how the valve is constructed. The second attachment is the smaller 1925 ad. Gorton didn't have an ad in the 1926 Guide, which is why those of us who have Dan's out-of-print classic "The Lost Art of Steam Heating Companion" haven't seen these.
  • Joe Grosso
    Joe Grosso Member Posts: 307
    My friend Gordon \"El Gordo\" Schweizer

    found a working example of this system on the west edge of Baltimore's Roland Park neighborhood. From the basement it looks like standard one-pipe, except the runouts are one size smaller. Yes, that's a Gorton #2 vent on the main!
  • Joe Grosso
    Joe Grosso Member Posts: 307
    And here's a 1-inch Gorton valve

    on a radiator that just got a brand-new, energy-wasting cover. Didn't get a chance to open it up so I don't know the EDR....
  • Joe Grosso
    Joe Grosso Member Posts: 307
    Yes you can

    run one-pipe TRVs on this system......
  • Joe Grosso
    Joe Grosso Member Posts: 307
    Another radiator

    25 square feet EDR with a 3/4-inch Gorton valve. BTW these are Richmond column rads.
  • Joe Grosso
    Joe Grosso Member Posts: 307
    Can't believe this works

    but it does. 15 square feet EDR with a 1/2-inch (!!!!) valve. The only other 1/2-inch one-pipe steam connection I've ever seen that worked was on one of those dinky little 3-1/2-square-feet bathroom wall rads.

    The system needs a bit of fine-tuning but overall it appears in good shape. There is one more house near here that we know of with this type of system, and several others that look the same that might have it too. Stay tuned..........
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    thats really neat stuff Frank!

    whats your theroy on how they made a smaller runout work? really cool valves.

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    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • Joe Grosso
    Joe Grosso Member Posts: 307

    they kept the velocity down using small rad vents. Remember Gorton's #4 is one of the smallest rad vents I've seen. Since smaller pipes have less air to vent, the smaller vent would not increase the time needed to vent the runout and riser.

    The rad shutoffs allowed water and steam to flow much more easily than the same size standard valves would have.
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    Thanks for sharing!

    Frank, as usual, your photo essays are a feast for the eyes and the brain. Thanks for uncovering this interesting bit of steam history that continues to provide good comfort! When I look at these kinds of emitter systems, I simply marvel how well they work when maintained by someone as knowledgable and caring as you.
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