The History Of The Radiator

Radiators as we know them today are fashionable, efficient and sometimes even designer. They come in every design you could possibly think of and their purpose is not only to heat your home and dry your clothes but also to make a statement. Radiators have become a feature within the home and, just as a TV is not a TV anymore unless it has a flat screen and is high definition, a radiator is not a radiator unless it is fashionable and makes people go ‘WOW’.
When it comes to making over your home, renovations or even buying a new house then the radiator is just as much an important discussion point as the wallpaper, curtains and the flooring. A lot of consumers no longer want the bog standard white radiators that feature on many people’s walls, instead they want a statement piece from the same era as the property or they want to add to the wow factor of their new modern abode.


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If you were to look back into the history books, it may be a surprising revelation when you come across the fact that central heating has certainly been around since the Roman times and there is even speculation that the same idea was used in ancient Korea, at a time that could date back to the Bronze Age. It is a certainty however, that the Romans used a system that is called hypocaust which involved a furnace used to heat air and send the air through spaces under the floor boards. By the 1700s engineers in Russia had begun developing water based central heating systems. Steam heating systems – more like the ones we use today – were developed around the 1830s and the first installation of this type of system was in the home of John Horley Palmer, the Governor of the Bank of England at the time.
There are various possible inventors, however, of this revolutionary heating appliance and all evidence points to the radiator – as we would recognise it – being developed in the mid-19th century. Franz San Galli was born in Poland, but was in fact a business man in Russia; he invented the radiator between 1855 and 1857. In 1863 Joseph Nason and Robert Brigss however were also said to invent a form of radiator that used vertical tubes on a cast iron base. Finally, 1872 saw Nelson Bundy come up with the ‘Bundy Loop’; this style of radiator can still be found today and is widely used in many Victorian style properties. The ‘Bundy Loop’ is made from cast iron and loops around in a decorative fashion.

This article was written by Nathan Smith an avid designer radiator collector. The radiators in his home were purchased from

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