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Capitol Red Top


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The apartment building, as far as I can tell, was built in 1940.

The cast iron US Radiator "Capitol Red Top" hydronic boiler is identified as "Size B07" and "Serial 59443." It was clearly an oil-fired boiler until 1986, when it was converted to gas. It's working fine today.

I'm wondering how old it is. I would have simply assumed that it's original to the building, but one thing suggests that it's not. In the boiler room, the chimney has a very large opening that's been sealed. I suspect that this opening was to accommodate a previous boiler with a larger smoke pipe. The opening is to low to have ever worked with this boiler. The boilder also seems to be a bit svelt for 1940.

Any ideas?

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tn_20131116151730_Sealed%20Opening.jpg

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I doubt that it was ever coal, not in this area in 1940.

The top of the large patched hole in the chimney is about two inches lower than the top of the outlet in the back of the boiler. I can't imagine that they ran the smoke pipe downhill.

Or are you suggesting that the large hole was where the barometric damper was located? I've never seen a setup like that before - even the most ancient installations that I've seen always had the damper on the pipe. I can see how it might work, though.

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That brand of boiler can't be later than 1954.

I've inspected many old apt. buildings and more often than not, there's evidence of a trash incinerator that vented into the same flue as the boiler.

The other possible reason for the lower capped opening is for a clean-out.

The building did once have an incinerator. Perhaps that was it.

The cleanout was on the other side of the chimney.

I'm also suspecting that the boiler might have been raised a few inches to keep it away from water on the floor.

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From the incinerator:

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Every time I see one of these things I'm reminded of their gruesome association with the character of Luca Brasi from the Godfather. The scene wasn't depicted in the movie and I won't recount it here. Google it if you want to be depressed.

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You can barely see it in this shot (taken 2 days ago).. Oil-fired 'conversion' boiler (formerly coal) (at L) behind water heater. Vent goes into chimney. Barometric damper is 'in' the chimney at the circle... we see this a lot, but less and less as these old monsters get swapped-out.. :) "Strange, but true"

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Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif IMG_5520.JPG

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You can barely see it in this shot (taken 2 days ago).. Oil-fired 'conversion' boiler (formerly coal) (at L) behind water heater. Vent goes into chimney. Barometric damper is 'in' the chimney at the circle... we see this a lot, but less and less as these old monsters get swapped-out.. :) "Strange, but true"

Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for similar installations in the future.

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US Radiator published a Red Top C series booklet in 1934. Would reason stand that the B was before the C?

Could be. No one seems to really know when the building was built. I'm basing my estimate on the manufacturing date stamped on the inside of the "house" disconnect panel. It's possible that the panel was added later.

On the other hand, US Radiator had series A, B, and C Red Tops. The letters might have referred to classifications rather than the sequence of manufacture.

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