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History of radiators

Press release March 16, 2012 Energy & Environment

Heating Systems

Renovating your home doesn’t just include the walls and floors. Selecting the right radiator from the right era is key and will add that wow-factor. Whether you’re bringing style to a period property, or modernising your home, there is a design for everyone.    

Many changes have taken place over the centuries, from when central heating was first used with the Romans to the modern high-tech systems of today. Roman central heating was very different from the ones we have today, they used a system called a hypocaust. This system used a furnace to heat the air and conduct it through voids under floors. Similar systems were used in ancient Korea, which can possibly be dated back to the Bronze Age. In the 1700s Russian engineers started to design water based heating systems, The Summer palace in Saint Petersburg provides the best extant example of this design.

With the 1830’s came the Industrial Revolution, inventors began to develop and install Steam-heating systems in homes of the wealthy, the first system was installed in the home of the governor of the bank of England, John Horley Palmer.

The development of heating systems carried on and progressed over the following centuries, with the main development occurring sometime around the mid-19th Century.  Franz San Galli, a Russian businessman invented an early form of radiator between 1855-1857. This was then followed on by Nelson H Bundy who invented the ‘Bundy Loop’ radiator, a popular cast iron radiator design that is still reflected in today’s radiators.

The cast iron radiators are greatly associated with the Victorian period, as over this period they went from not only being considered as practical but decorative. However, it was not until the 20th Century that radiators were popularised, and eventually in the 1970s those fortunate enough had central heating. As the times moved on, steel production grew to meet demand of UK manufacturers. Despite the dominance of aluminium radiators in Europe, pressed steel, in forms of corrugated panels became a popular choice amongst home owners looking to invest in heating.

Interior fashion has had a big influence on styles of radiators over the years. As interior fashion changed, cast iron radiators were thought of being too big and obstructing and steel radiators being considered ugly. The 21st Century, public opinion and fashion changed and steel and cast iron radiators became desirable features in our homes.

Contemporary radiators are now available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and finishes, from sleek minimalist radiators that fit close to the wall to wow-factor feature radiators that make a unique and stunning statement.  

Radiators, be they Victorian in style or Contemporary in design, are no longer just something in the background; they are now an essential centrepiece that serves a functional purpose as well as being a stylish accessory to complement any interior.


Energy & Environment