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1918 gas heater

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    Posted 4 years ago

    (261 items)

    So I bought this from a friend. Its absolutely adorable. Its a 1918 gas space heater. Humphrey Radiantfire. I do have a gas line and flue in the bedroom. As well as a gas fireplace downstairs i could put it. Having a chimney sweep come to clean. So will ask him to look at it and hook it up. Thanks for looking have a great day!


    1. SpiritBear, 4 years ago
      Only hook it up in a fire place after again "doping" all the connections. Those things in the front are fire bricks. I'm guessing that fire will come from them.
    2. AnythingObscure AnythingObscure, 4 years ago
      This is an old "open flame" gas space heater. Its burner (like a typical gas stove burner but arranged in a line instead of a circle, and with nothing but your match to light it) will be immediately under the white ceramic-ish segments behind its grille. Those things are more correctly called "radiants" (not 'fire bricks', sorry SB) and should be standing in a line immediately over the burner, instead of all leaning to one side as shown. They, due to their material and function, are *exceedingly* fragile and may be leaning because their bottoms are already broken -- can't tell from the only pic you posted. Their purpose, as their name implies, is to sit there immediately over the actual fire and get 'red hot' -- thus "radiating" more heat out into whatever room it is in.

      These heaters were commonly used in the early half of the 1900's, mostly as an alternative to fireplaces or wood/coal stoves in houses with piped gas service. (or in southern locations where extra 'heat' was seldom an actual need...) By the standards of that time they were dangerous as h*ll (like anything that puts direct open flame inside a dwelling, for any reason) but not much any moreso than anything else. They DID make heat (as well as house fires) and the carbon monoxide they also generate didn't kill too many folks, because dwellings of the time weren't sealed/insulated like they are nowadays.

      Chances are it *would* still "work" if connected to a gas line and lit -- there simply really isn't any part of it complex enough to 'go wrong'. HOWEVER -- and I emphasize -- there's practically NOTHING SAFE about it. IF you happen to have an actual masonry fireplace in your home (with a real flue, a gas pipe, and a certified/insured plumber willing to check/connect it for you) it might to become functionally useful again (as a pretty display, not a source of heat?!) but other than that, you might be better off in the long run just finding it a good spot to sit and 'look cool'. If you have a patio/deck/etc outside, perhaps that'd be another potential (much safer?!) place to show it off, whether hooked up to a gas line or not.

    3. Karenoke Karenoke, 4 years ago
      I think it’s a really nice piece to show off, and could be a nice “fire pit” for the back patio.
      But I agree with the above comments about how unsafe it is, thus making it a great fire pit replacement.
    4. Lamplover78 Lamplover78, 4 years ago
      Thank you so much everyone! Great comments! If we do end up using it. It will be inside an already existing fireplace. And won't leave unattended. Plus I already have a wood burning cast iron stove for the patio. My chimney sweep guy is a contractor. Having him come to clean the chimneys before the cold sets in. As well as add a wood burning stove for us. New York winters are harsh.
    5. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 4 years ago
      I seriously doubt any licensed contractor would want to be responsible for hooking that up in your home. There's a reason they are not used anymore! All related to the hazards.
    6. AnythingObscure AnythingObscure, 4 years ago
      THANKS for the new pics and further info Lamplover78 -- that IS an interesting and kinda fancy example, and does look like it's all there and intact?!! Its a little more complex than I first guessed, the burner is a more involved affair than many but looks nicely made. Seeing it reminds me of another detail about these heaters I didn't remember. (but your contractor guy will hopefully already be aware of) The burners themselves on these heaters (like kitchen stove burners etc, in fact) may be different depending on whether it was intended/equipped for use with a piped in 'city gas' supply, vs. a rural 'bottle gas' source. The "orifices" [read: the actual tiny holes in the burner that the gas comes out of] are usually differently sized for either type of gas supply, and won't burn properly if hooked to the wrong one. The orifices on your heater (the little kinda cone-shaped things with hex bases) look like they are meant to be removable, when it was 'new' it could likely have come with a set of both sized parts. (?)
    7. Lamplover78 Lamplover78, 4 years ago
      Thank you for your help. It was hooked up in a house a few streets over from mine. We do have city gas. My gas lines in my fireplace date 1910. Must of been when they switched from log to gas. House was built in 1849. Not sure what my chimney guy will say yet. But will update with what is said. I might really use if it's not leaking any gas. It seems in really good condition. Would love to paint it a black where its brown. And leave the brass how it is. Thanks for all your help everyone!
    8. Lamplover78 Lamplover78, 4 years ago
      Oh I should also mention that the gas arm swings. So have to line them up under the burners.
    9. Ryanfieldskc, 2 years ago
      I run a Humphrey nonstop through the winter. My chimney was built specifically for one in 1909. I just make sure to be armed with carbon monoxide detectors. I hope you didn’t give in to the fear presented above. I would be leary of painting em, cause they do get hot. It is a beautiful piece. Cheers!

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