What Is the History of the Modern Furnace?

Mar 11, 2022 | Blog, Furnace, Heating, HVAC, Lancaster, OH, Ohio, Winter

Human survival mainly depends on staying warm, especially during the winter season. This essential survival skill has been used since the start of human civilization. Past generations carry several innovative techniques of keeping warm and cozy amid the coldest weather conditions. However, since then, we have expanded and modified HVAC technology to fit modern life. And at this point, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for HVAC innovation. Even so, our HVAC experts at Lancaster Furnace & Air help us understand how past generations kept warm by explaining the evolution of the modern furnace. Let’s take a trip back in time to see what it was like:

What Do the Romans Have To Do With It?

Picture yourself in ancient Rome. This is where the first idea of the radiator was created, called the hypocaust. You may be thinking to yourself, what is a hypocaust, and how was it used? The Romans used this piece of equipment in vast open spaces under the floors in buildings to push heat upwards to provide warmth in rooms above. This brilliant invention paved the way for Franz Galli and Dave Lennox with their later heating creations. 

How Did the Radiator Come About? 

The first man in history to develop the initial design for what we call the “Radiator,” was a man named Franz Galli. Shortly following Franz Galli’s creation, Dave Lennox took this piece of heating equipment and improved the invention using cast-iron radiators that burned coal. Since science has always taught us that heat rises, these radiators were placed inside the basement or cellar of most homes.  

Who Set the Stage for Electric Heat?

After many years of trial and error, the dawn of electric heat saw the light of day in 1882. However, 1905 was a tremendous breakthrough for American metallurgist Albert Marsh when he discovered metals contained chrome. From there, Marsh created an electric home heating system that was better and way more efficient than equipment in the industry at the time. Marsh received his historical title from this discovery as “The Father of Electric Heating.” Despite many years passing, this concept is still used in modern furnaces. 

When Did the Central Heating System Come About? 

Did you know that a woman named Alice Parker developed the first residential central heating system? How cool is that? Nevertheless, Parker knew there was a more efficient way to keep homes warm rather than using natural gas by positioning a furnace in the center of the house. Because of her tremendous discovery, Parker is now known as “The Mother of Centralized Heat” and set the standard for the HVAC systems that we use in our homes today. 

When Was Forced Air Established? 

As previously mentioned, Parker’s development for centralized heat paved the way for the forced-air system to manufacture in 1935. The forced-air system worked by pushing heat from the furnace throughout the home by traveling through the ventilation system. This allowed several areas throughout the house to be heated, all from one source. Although the gravity-fed system was an exciting discovery, there were still defects to this piece of equipment. Unfortunately, with the way gravity works, heat couldn’t distribute evenly throughout the home because nothing but gravity was there to push the heat up. Eventually, the heat would come back down, causing the heating system to short cycle. Ultimately, this was a massive waste of money, time, and energy. 

What Makes the Modern Day Furnace So Special?

The answer to this simple question is adding motorized fans to centralized heating systems. These motor fans repaired the issue gravity-fed systems have because these fans were able to push heated air throughout the entire home, finally reaching every room. This eventually led to less home energy consumption, savings on utilities, and warmer homes overall.

From 15 AD to now, home heating has drastically changed for the better. Nevertheless, without the stepping stones of getting us where we are today with what we call “The Modern Furnace,” we would still probably be rubbing two sticks together to create a fire for warmth. With the new technology provided today, we can monitor and control the temperature throughout the entire house from the touch of a button on your thermostat or even your smartphone. Additionally, newer heating systems are also tailored to your optimal comfort levels and can even set schedules for your preferred temperatures throughout the day. At Lancaster Furnace & Air Conditioning, we are here to assist with any and all of your house heating needs. Our NATE-certified technicians can repair, install, and perform any preventative maintenance on your HVAC system, no matter the scope or size of the job. So give us a call today at (740) 625-2320, or schedule an appointment online now by clicking here!

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