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Quick Facts About Heating Technology

The History of Central Heating

One of the first things needed to survive the dangers presented by nature is a good shelter from the elements. Humanity’s ancestors innately knew the struggles of surviving against nature. In modern society, it is easy to overlook the necessity that homes represent. Modern homes have become so much more than just a barrier between humans and the elements. 

Probably the thing that most separates modern dwellings from that of earlier societies is the ability for humans to heat their shelters. Cold has always been one of the things that make humans struggle and suffer, but in modern homes, humans are protected from the cold and even comforted by the environment that they can create for themselves. Here are some facts about the development of modern heating systems that people enjoy today. 

Who Invented Central Heating?

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Throughout history, humans made use of fire to warm themselves and they quickly learned how to bring fire safely inside their dwellings to take advantage of it. But, it wasn’t until the Roman Empire that humans figured out ways to heat their buildings indirectly. 

The earliest examples of central heating are the ruins of Roman baths that date back at least 2000 years. These baths were cunningly engineered to provide an activity for the empire’s wealthy citizens. The baths had simple but revolutionary designs. The floor of the bath was supported on pillars so that it was about two feet above ground level, similar to a crawl space. 

At one end of the opening below the floor, a fire was kindled and tended. The heat and smoke were drawn underneath the floor by cleverly placed flues that were built into the walls. This allowed temperatures inside the bath to reach up to 120 degrees. 

What Was the First Modern Heating Invention?

Up until the 1800s, heating a home was simple. Fuel was burned, heat was released, and the dwelling warmed up. It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that people started to use physics as a means to distribute heat. 

In the 1850s, Franz San-Galli invented the first hot water radiator. With the recent developments of steam power, he decided to harness that concept to help heat homes. The first radiator systems were similar to what is used today. Water was heated in a central boiler and pumped to radiators around the home to distribute heat. 

Then, in 1885, Dave Lennox further advanced home heating with the world’s first steel coal furnace. This invention moved heat through the home by the process of natural convection. It carried warm air up to various rooms in the house from a basement furnace through a series of ducts. 

When Did Thermostats Come Into Play?

The most important part of a heating system is the thermostat. Without a thermostat, a home’s occupants have no way of actually adjusting the temperatures. The first thermostat was invented in 1830 before most buildings were even outfitted with heating systems. The first thermostats were made of two dissimilar metals joined together that bent when heated. 


The technology for thermostats wasn’t recognized for its value in central heating until 1885 when electric thermostats were used to signal servants to stoke the fires when the room got too cool. Some systems had elaborate pulley systems that would allow users to open or close flues remotely. But, thermostats wouldn’t come into popular usage in most buildings until about 50 years later. 

About A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions

A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions is a home renovation and heating contractor in Austin. With a commitment to environmentally-friendly solutions, they work with homeowners to help them understand the best and greenest technology to heat and cool their homes. They have over 40 years of successful service and are still a family-owned business that takes pride in their personal touch.