We enjoy a number of incredible conveniences living in the modern age, including powerful, reliable, on-demand access to central heating at the push of a button. Who needs to worry about winter anymore? If we so desired, we could pump and endless supply of 85° air directly into our living room all year around. Can you imagine how people had to live 20, 100, or even 1000 years ago? How did they survive the winter at all?! They got creative, that’s how.
Earliest of Early Heating
Early heating methods were relatively simple. Think fire. Think logs and sticks and leaves and open flame. Known as direct heating, open fire is still used today in many modern heating units. Direct heating was the only method used in the western world until the Greeks and the Romans came around. They still used fires, but they invented the concept of central heating. They used, hot water, steam, and open flames to create heat and distributed it through the home.
The Greeks and Romans used the hypocaust system in which they built a series of fires under a home which was floored using mosaic tiles. The fires underneath the floor would warm the tiles and thus the entire home.
America’s very own Benjamin Franklin created one of the most significant advances in central heating during the year 1744. He invented what would come to be known as the Franklin stove, which was far less wasteful of heat than any model which had ever come before it. Rather than use a chimney, the Franklin stove absorbed heat directly in the walls of the stove, where it then radiated the heat into the air of the room.