HISTORY OF TECHNOLOGIES
HEATING/ LIGHTING/ VENTILATION
SCharles Edwin Chase
Prof. F. Blair Reeves
Department of Architecture
University of Florida
May 27, 1974
Content of Week 6: Heating/ Lighting/ Ventilation
[as completed May 27, 1974]
1. Central Hearth
a. hearths: their support [brick and stone const.]
b. Masonry jambs and backs'
c. throat Design [including dampers]
d. cheeks [ facings of plaster, marble or tile]
3. Stove and Grate Installations
c. dappings, bonnets, and patent tops
II. Lighting Installations
b. oil lamps
c. gas installations
d. electric lighting
III. Ventilation Installations
a. mechanical systems development
b. applicaiton to buildings
c. local examples
IV. Fireproofing Measures
a. protection of wood frame construction
b. cast iron construction
c. tile and concrete construction
a. Nineteenth Century example
Charles Edwin Chase
History of Technologies II
HEATING, LIGHTING, & VENTILATION TECHNIQUES
INTENT': The intent of this paper is to continue the
development of a teaching sylabus on the history of technology.
This section deals with the problem of built-in heating
lighting and ventilation with emphasis on the origins and
types of systems and variations which have developed through
to the twentieth century.
SCOPE: This document will include an annotated biblio-
graphy as well as visual slide materials supported by
index cards. Again this information may be reorganized
to meet the needs of the students.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Due to the very limited work that has been
published in the field of heating lighting and ventilation
individual works and technological texts and dictionaries
have been the most helpful. They are indicated and'outlined
in the following pages.
VISUAL MATERIALS: The majority of the included slides
are original in the sense that they are only available in
individual texts. I assume this is the first such collection
of this type of visual data. The accompanying note cards
are intended to relay pertinent data and source of the
Association of Preservation Technologies, Bulletin,
Ontario: V. III, Nos. 2-3, pp. 14-104,
V. III, Nos..4, pp 71-92.
Billings, John S. Ventilation and Heating, New York:
The Engineering Record, 1893.
Boyton, E.B. "Climate Control in Restored Buildings",
Appendix of Restoration Manual Orin Bullick.
Bugbee, B.A. "On Fireplaces", Antiques, 20: 349-353,
Clark, V.S. History of Manufactures in the United States,
New York: Peter Smith, 1949. Vol I & II.
Emercik, R.H. "Heating in Restoration", Progressive Archi-
tecture, August 1957, p152.
Encyclopedia Britannica, Cambridge England: University Press
1910, Eleventh Edition.
Fitch, James Marston American Building: The Historical
Forces That Shaped It, New York: Schocken Books,
Gideon, Sigfreid Mechanization Takes Command, New York:
Oxford University Press.
Hebard, Helen Brigham Early Lighting in New England: 1620-
1861, Rutland, Vt.: Charles E. Tuttle, 1965.
Kaufmann, H.J. Chimneys, Mantelpieces, Fireplaces and
Aeeesories, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1972.
Oliver, John W. History of American Technology, New York:
Ronald Press, 1956.
Russell, Loris S. A Heritage of Light: Lamps and lighting
in the early Canadian home, Toronto: University
of Tornto, 1968.
Singer, Charles A History of Technology, Oxford: Clarendon
Watkins, M.C. "Artificial Lighting in America: 1830-1860",
Smithsonian Institution Annual Report of the
Board of Regents, 1951, Washington: 1952.
West, T. Timber Frame House in England, Newton Abbot:
Charles & David Ltd.m 1970.
Wright, Lawrence, Home Fires Buring: The History of Domestic
Heating and Cooking, London: Routledge & Kegan, 1964.
Chronology of Major Events in Heating/Lighting/Ventilation
slab at center of space with
billet bars at hearth to hold logs.
Smoke vented by louvered opening in
Utilization of hypocaust
Establishment of permanent hearth
French use of fireplace
Tudor period in England with the
introduction of wall backed fireplace
Brick introduced;! as building material
Introduction of chimney pot.
Introduction of the firebasket with
the utilization of coal as fuel.
Franklin Stove Patented.
Earliest practical application
central heating by Benj. Henry Latrobe
Further work on House of Representatives
Bdbk of Philadelphia and the 'rareifing
air stove' similar to the system used
in the Capitol Building
Economical air heating unit in the
Arch St. Meetinghouse, Phila., Pa.
Massachusetts Medical College
utilization of heating units
Second National Bank of U.S.
cast iron with firebrick construction,
Iron Stove Construction becomes
separate branch of foundry works
Introduction of Steam Heating
in Boston and Philadelphia
The following glossery is inserted for the utilization
of both student and faculty in the recognition of the
various parts of different lighting fixtures primarily
in the oil lamp area.
Bayberry and murtle bush used in
Whale oil sought to improve lighting
Development of 'limelight' in lighthouse
improvements in lighting
Shallow dish construction of lamps
Improvements to oil lamps by Ami Argand
Use of coal for lighting and heating
Gas lighting in Urban areas
Determined efforts to establish
France adopts arc lighting for road
ONE OF THE MINOR difficulties in making use of the many excellent books
and articles on lighting has been the lack of uniformity in naming the
devices and their parts. This has resulted in a confusion of terminology
by curators and dealers. The first attempt to overco!;e this was the
illustrated glossary in Flickering Flames,1 which provided names and
definitions for most of the known lighting devices. A more recent, ex-
panded version has been compiled by Darbee, and the nomenclature
used has been followed for the most part in the present work. A standard
system for naming the parts of lamps is still lacking. So that there will
be no doubt about what is meant in the preceding chapters, the following
annotated classification of lighting devices, and glossary, of lamp parts,
CLASSIFICATION OF LIGHTING DEVICES
A scheme that attempts to classify all devices for providing artificial
lighting is more uniform if based on the source of the light rather
the physical design of the device. The latter can be the basis of the more
detailed subdivisions. Such a system of classification is not perfect,
because some lamps work with more than one kind 'of fuel, and an
arbitrary choice has to be made. In general, however, there is a close
^^LU, Bjjt ~of 41 Lf,^ ^Ui^A^-h
relationship between the source of the light and the physical form of
the device that uses it.
The following, scheme includes only those lighting devices that were
used or may have been used in North American homes, but it could be
expanded easily to a much wider application.
I SOLID FUEL DEVICES The fuel is sufficiently rigid to support
itself, requiring only a device to hold it in position.
A Torch holders. A burning piece of wood or bundle of rushes
makes a torch. A tubular or frame holder enables it to be carried
or placed in a fixed position. Torches, usually called links, have
a long history of use in Europe, but were seldom more than an
impromptu means of lighting in North America.
B Splint holders. Splints are miniature torches, slivers of resinous
wood such as pine. They could be held in rushlight holders, but
there were special splint holders of slotted or folded metal.
C Rushlight holders. The rushlight was formed from the stem of
the common rush (Juncus efusus) by peeling the outer fibrous
layer except for a narrow strip, and then dipping the pithy rod
that remained in melted tallow or lard. Convenient lengths of
this impregnated stem were held at an angle in the rushlight
holder, which is an iron device like a pair of pincers, held closed
by a counterweight. The base may be of iron, wood, or cork.
Some have an auxiliary socket thought to be a candle holder.
D Taper holders. The taper resembles the candle, into which it
apparently evolved, but differs in that the wick is impregnated
with, rather than imbedded in, the solid fuel. Tapers holders are
gripping devices, like rushlight holders, but some have a reel on
which the taper is wound and unreeled as needed.
E Candle holders. Candles are distinguished by having a suf-
ficiently thick mass of solid fuel around the wick that they can
stand vertically, given some basal support. Candle holders pro-
vide this. They are of two types, those that have a socket or tube
into which the candle fits, and those which have a spike to impale
the base of the candle prickett).
II SEMI LIQUID FU EL DEVICES The fuel melts at a relatively
low temperature and so must be contained in a vessel. Lard, tallow,
or other animal fats were the usual fuels.
A Crusies. Open pans, with one or more angular projections of the
rim, in which the wick lies.
B Betty lamps. These have a separate trough to support the wick.
The font is usually, but not always, covered.
C Lard lamps. This term is applied to a variety of lamps, which
have a closed font with projecting vertical wick tube or tubes.
In some there is an arrangement to conduct heat from, flame
to fuel; others have a mechanical means of forcing the fuel to
D Solar lamps. Tubular-wick lamps without separate reservoirs;
the distinctive deflector is a low dome with circular opening.
They could burn whale oil but were commonly used with lard
oil or lard.
III LIQUID FU EL DEVICES These resemble lard lamps in having
closed fonts and wick tubes, but they require no heat feed-back to
melt the fuel. They can be further subdivided on the basis of the kind
of liquid fuel normally used.
A Whale-oil lamps. Using this term in the broad sense to include
all lamps that normally burned whale oil, the group may be sub-
divided on the physical form of burners and reservoirs.
1 Simple whale-oil lamps: Glass or metal bodies with one or
two short wick tubes, which may or may not be attached
firmly to the font. Such lamps were also used with seal oil
and olive oil.
2 Argand lamps: Argand burners have a tubular wick, which
is supported between two metal tubes so that air is fed to the
inside as well as the outside of the circular flame. This
principle is used in many different lamps. The original Argand
lamps were made of sheet metal, and the wick was adjusted
by hand. The reservoir is separate, and feeds fuel to font and
burner on the bird-bath principle.
3 Mantel lamps: Ornate versions of the Argand lamp, of cast
brass, with urn-shaped reservoir feeding one or two fonts and
burners. The wick was adjusted by twisting the burner.
4 Astral lamps: the name was originally used for hanging
lamps with a ring-shaped reservoir but was later applied to
table lamps of the same design. Sinumbra lamps are astrals
in which the ring-shaped reservoir has a stream-lined shape
in cross-section. These reservoir shapes were intended to
5 Rumford lamps: An early flatwick lamp with offset reservoir.
The wick is supported on a frame which is raised and lowered
by a rack-and-pinion mechanism.
B Colza-oil lamps. Designed to burn the heavy oil pressed from
rape seed, these lamps could also use the heavier grades of whale
oil. The common version was the moderator lamp, a tall device
in which a spring-loaded piston forced the fuel through an
elaborate control mechanism to an Argand-type burner.
C Camphene lamps. Designed to burn rectified turpentine. They
have an Argand burner without separate reservoir, and a button-
shaped deflector to spread the flame. The name is often used
erroneously for burning-fluid lamps.
D Rosin-oil lamps. Similar to camphene lamps but designed to
burn the oil distilled from rosin. The air supply is capable of
E Burning-fluid lamps. Designed to burn a mixture of 95 % alcohol
and redistilled turpentine (camphene). Burners typically have
two high, diverging and tapering wick tubes, with caps. Fonts
are high and narrow, usually of pressed glass, but also of tin and
F Kerosene lamps. Designed to burn the light hydrocarbon oil
distilled from coal or petroleum. Used flat or tubular wicks, with
a device for adjusting the height. There is usually a deflector to
direct the air to the flame and a chimney to concentrate the draft.
1 Hand lamps: The font usually forms the bottom of the lamp,
and there are one or more handles for carrying.
2 Table lamps: These have distinct font, stem, and base. Those
with very tall stems are called banquet lamps.
3 Student lamps: A revival of the Argand lamp, with separate
burner/font and reservoir, the two being balanced on opposite
sides of an upright, their height being adjustable.
4 Wall lamps: The font is attached to, or supported by, some
form of bracket, by means of which it can be hung on a wall.
There is usually a reflector on the bracket, behind the lamp.
5 Hanging lamps: Designed to hang from the ceiling and to cast
most of the light downward. Library lamps have the shade
mounted over the font and burner; hall lamps have the font
and burner inside the shade.
6 Floor lamps: The lamp proper is mounted on the top of a
vertical rod supported by a table or a tripod, and is capable
of height adjustment. In North America they were known
as piano lamps.
7 Night lamps: Miniature lamps intended to supply a subdued
light and to burn safely all night.
8 Mechanical lamps: A spring-driven fan in the base provides
an acceledated current of air to the flame, making a chimney
IV GAS-FUEL DEVICES The fuel being already vaporized, these
devices have no need for a burning wick.
A Gas burners. In simplest form these are open ends or tips of the
gas line, with some device to control or shut off the flow. There
may be an arrangement to adjust the amount of air to the flame.
Later examples used the Welsbach incandescent mantle. Princi-
pal fuels were coal gas, water gas, and natural gas.
B Acetylene lamps. The hydrocarbon gas acetylene is made by
bringing water into contact with calcium carbide. Lamps have
a container for the "carbide," a reservoir of water with a con-
trolled drip, and a nozzle, at the end of which the gas is burned.
More common as lanterns and carriage lamps than as domestic
G Vapour lamps. These use a liquid fuel, which at some stage of
its passage to the point of combustion is converted into a vapour.
Welsbach mantles were used in later types.
V ELECTRICAL DEVICES Passage of an electrical current
through an imperfect conductor produces heat, and if the resistance
is high enough, also light.
A Arc lights. The electric current is made to traverse an air gap
between two electrodes, usually of carbon. The air in the gap as
well as the tips of the electrodes become heated to a brilliant
white incandescence. Such lights had little application to the
home, but the modem fluorescent tube is an analogous device.
B Incandescent-filament lights. A fine carbon or metal conductor
is heated to incandescence by passage of an electric current, and
is protected from combustion by being sealed in a glass vessel
from which the air, or at least the oxygen, has been removed.
A NOMENCLATURE FOR LAMP PARTS
The simplest lamp consists of a vessel or font for the fuel and a wick or
similar device to bring the fuel to a point where it can be vaporized and
burned. More advanced lamps have a distinct burner, which not only bu
holds the wick safely, but also increases the supply of air to the flame by collar
means of ducts, deflectors, or chimneys. In some kerosene lamps the
burner is a complex structure. The font, which originally made up almost
the entire lamp, becomes only a part of the lamp body, together with font
the stem, base, and handle. Nearly all the names in the following glos-
sary were previously employed in patents or technical descriptions of the
time concerned. Where the contemporary term is unknown, one used
in the better works on lighting is accepted. A few original names had A
to be found, which, it is hoped, are simple and appropriate.
Base. That part of the lamp that is normally in contact with the table
or floor; it may be the bottom of the font, or a separate expansion con-
nected to the font by the stem. base
Base plate. A part of the burner, disc- or cup-shaped, which is attached
wick tube c
hinge- ------ ----- l
wick base plate
to the screw below, is perforated for the wick tube, and supports the
deflector, if any; in lamps with chimneys it is pierced for the passage of
air, or is made of metallic gauze.
Blaze hole. An opening in the deflector through which the flame
Body. All of the lamp below the burner, consisting of the font, and
possibly a stem, base, and handle.
Burner. That part of the lamp which supports and permits adjustment
of the wick, and is the seat of the combustion that provides the light.
Chimney. A tubular device of glass, metal, or mica which extends
upward from the rim of the burner and concentrates the hot air rising
from the flame, thus producing a draft.
Chimney holder. That portion of the burner that receives and secures
the chimney; commonest type consists of four spring-metal prongs which
grasp the lower part of the chimney.
Collar. A ring-shaped attachment, usually of brass, which surrounds the
opening of the font, and is threaded inside to receive the screw of the
Coronet. A type of chimney holder consisting of a ring of short, spring-
metal serrations, sometimes ornamentally shaped and pierced, into which
the lower rim of the chimney fits. Additional securing may be provided
by a set-screw or a spring-loaded clip.
Deflector. A disc, cone, or dome, usually of metal, which directs a cur-
rent of air onto the flame.
Filler hole. A separate opening on the font or burner for the introduction
of fuel into the font; usually provided with a cap.
Flame-spreader. A type of deflector used with the late tubular-wick
lamps; it consists of a tube, capped and perforated at the top, through
which part of the centre draft rises and is directed onto the flame.
Flange. That portion of the burner base plate not covered by the
Font. The fuel container that supports the burner and receives the lower
part of the wick; usually an integral part of the body.
Handle. Commonly a loop of glass or metal attached to font or base.
Oil pot. A type of font, usually of metal, which fits into and is largely
concealed by another receptable of metal, glass, or china that appears
to be the font, which actually serves only for support and decoration.
Reservoir. A fuel container distinct from the font, and 'not bearing a
burner; from it the fuel is automatically or manually supplied to the font
Sconce. A frame or plate which can be attached to the wall, and which
has a support for the body of the lamp; usually with a reflector behind
Screw. A short threaded tube at the bottom of the burner, which can be
screwed into the collar of the font.
Shade. An attachment of glass, metal, or fabric which surrounds the
chimney and burner and reduces or deflects the light; characteristically
conical, hemispherical, or globular.
Shade holder. A support for the shade, consisting of a ring-shaped
channel, a wire frame, or both.
Stem. A constricted portion of the lamp body joining font to base;
characteristic of table lamps.
Thumb wheel. A disc-shaped wheel at the outer end of a shaft, by
means of which the shaft and its wick wheel or wheels can be turned
manually; in some burners a simple loop of the shaft replaces the wheel.
Vapour vent. A tubular opening through the base plate, usually at-
tached to the wick tube, to permit escape of vapour from the font.
Wick. A cord, ribbon, or tube of fabric which; extends from the fuel in
the font through the wick tube to protrude at the top; fuel rises in the
wick by capillary action and is vaporized and burned at the upper end;
usually made of twisted or woven cotton, but may be of asbestos.
Wick tube. A circular or flattened-ovoid tube extending through the
base plate, and housing the wick; combustion of fuel and wick takes
place at the top of the tube; usually associated with a wick-raising
Wick wheel. One or more toothed discs on a shaft attached to the base
plate, the teeth projecting into the wick tube through a slot; rotary
motion of thumbwheel and shaft 'causes the teeth of the wick wheel to
raise or lower the wick, thus controlling the amount that is exposed for