The History Of Cast Iron Radiators

Posted: Thursday, September 9, 2021

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Here at Trads we are passionate about, and proud of, our products. Our pieces are designed to not only efficiently heat a home, but also to act as a beautiful addition to any room.

The invention, development and resurgence of the cast iron radiator is an interesting story. Curiously, the term ‘radiator’ is in fact a misnomer, as the vast majority of heat output comes from convection, as opposed to radiation.

Read on to discover more about how modern radiators came to be.

Early Modern Radiators 

The first radiator installed in the UK was at the home of the Governor of the Bank of England, John Horley Palmer. It was stated that the reason for the installation was to enable him to cultivate grapes in our cool climate.

Yet the creation of the modern radiator is a matter of contention. Russian businessman Franz San Galli developed an early radiator in 1857, whilst Joseph Nason and Robert Briggs produced a similar model in 1863.

It was, however, the later invention of the ‘Bundy Loop’ by Nelson H. Bundy in 1872 that became most popular, and is still in use today. 

The Bundy Loop 

The Bundy Loop is still recognisable in the majority of heating systems throughout buildings to this day. These cast iron radiators used steam and looped wrought iron tubes to heat rooms, in contrast to the original models, which were made up of wrought iron tubes fitted between horizontal top and bottom headers. These days, we use hot water instead of steam, but the basic design remains the same, an inverted ‘U’ attached to a base plate.

Form And Function

The industrial revolution drove the production of cast iron radiators, and made them more affordable, transforming them from a luxury item to a common feature in many homes. 

This shift, towards the end of the 20th century, allowed radiators to become more than just a practical necessity, but also a decorative feature. 

However, functionality was never sacrificed in favour of form. The beauty and efficiency of cast iron radiators have kept them popular to this day.

Modern Cast Iron Radiators 

Whilst cast iron radiators have never gone out of style, they are currently experiencing a particularly strong resurgence.

Their quality and style has not diminished over the decades, and we are happy to provide the very best of both worlds.

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