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JByrd

Fowler Electic water heater

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I have a table-top water heater from the late 1940's or early 1950's that's still in service, about 65 years later! (Although service has not been continuous.) The manufacturer's label reads "PORCELINED" and "Fowler Electric." Apparently manufactured by Fowler Mfg. Co. of Portland, OR, but I can find little information about this unit on the internet. The chart from the Inspector's Journal doesn't list Fowler.

Even though it's still working, I'm thinking of replacing with a modern, more energy-efficient model. I would greatly appreciate any additional information on this unit, however. Thanks.

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If it's electric, it's efficiency is about the same as any electric element water heater offered today, 100%.

Marc

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If it's electric, it's efficiency is about the same as any electric element water heater offered today, 100%.

Marc

Marc, I suspect he is looking for heat retention efficiency, as in insulation.

Wrap it with a foil blanket, then.

Dollar for dollar, there's no better economy than a product that lasts a lifetime, eh?

Here's a link to a 1947 newspaper ad:

\https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=950&dat=19471205&id=I2pIAAAAIBAJ&sjid=EFUDAAAAIBAJ&pg=179

The ad on page 9 says the rust free day and night water heater was available from the Hall Maytag company.

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The company filed a trademark for that logo in 1948 and stated that it was used in commerce since 1935. They first manufactured electric water heaters in 1914. They apparently moved to Portland in 1922. There were in business at least into the late 1960's.

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Thank you all for the info. That's the beast, on page 9, although mine must be a 50-gallon, as it's wider than the one shown for sale by Maytag. And has two controls, "preheat" and "boost."

Sounds like I should just keep using it until one of us dies.It's a toss-up; we're about the same age, me and my water heater. But I'm not glass-lined. I do wrap it with insulation.

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Katen wants to buy it.

True. But Katen's wife would pitch a fit.

I see Fowler water heaters about once a year. Most of the ones I see tend to be from the 60s. I think they were very popular then.

There was an apartment complex where every unit had Fowler tabletop unit - about half of them were leaking very slowly. If you keep it, put a pan under it.

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Back in the late 1940's, I was about 9 years old, my family was living in this same old house with this same water heater. It was struck by lightning, which melted the insulation. My father went to Portland, probably to the Fowler factory, and got replacement insulation. Possibly new elements too, I don't remember. Or he may have gone to George Morlan, The Water Heater King. Anyway, he rebuilt it and it's still going strong. No leaks yet!

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Digging into the guts of ours as we speak. She's been a reliable old gal. Came with the 1959 house and has worked like a champ since we got her 15 years ago.

She started overheating the water this am and the overflow valve did just as intended. One element tests around 85 the other at the expected 230.

Hoping we can find parts.

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Digging into the guts of ours as we speak. She's been a reliable old gal. Came with the 1959 house and has worked like a champ since we got her 15 years ago.

She started overheating the water this am and the overflow valve did just as intended. One element tests around 85 the other at the expected 230.

Hoping we can find parts.

I think you meant to say 'T&P Safety Relief Valve' instead of 'overflow valve'.

Good luck on parts.

Marc

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Replace the TPR valve. They can get clogged with rust and sediment. Cost of a new one is only about $15.

This goes for anybody that has an old reliable water heater - replace the TPRV.

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It actually just kept on heating and heating and heating.

With it being a holiday and nothing really open until Monday, we've opted to retire the dear thing and just bought a new Bradford White one.

Trying to convince the husband to buy me a plasma cutter so we can do something amazing with the old one.

Great stuff around here, btw. Lots of knowledge! Happy New Year. :)

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. . . Trying to convince the husband to buy me a plasma cutter so we can do something amazing with the old one.

An oxy-acetylene torch is a little harder to use, but much more versatile.

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Amazing! Three heating elements, each integral to a narrow slice of the tank.

Is that what I'm seeing?

Guess it's not a good candidate for a bar-b-que pit.

Marc

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.. . And we don't actually have room for oxy/acetylene tools. Because a)welder, b)forge, c)metal cutting bandsaw... sigh. #NeedAbiggerHouse

Oh, come on. There's probably plenty of space in the living room.

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Marc, yes that's the way we're reading it. Each "strap" seems to be the heating element for that section.

Which explains why 50+ years and we weren't having a problem with the tank "eating itself" from the inside. I think.

Jim, I've already given up some of the basement to what we call "garage overflow", but I'm angling for a home with a shop. We need more room for toys!

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Kurt, I'm pretty sure that's what I meant. :) I just need a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen. But we *really* need a place for the tools, the pottery wheel, etc etc. :)

Here's a couple of more shots of the water heater, just in case anyone was interested.

https://goo.gl/photos/DTPUEs43BKcq2xdd6

It's not integral after all. It's external and wraps around the tank. Sounds like you had a defective thermostat.

Marc

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It's not integral after all. It's external and wraps around the tank. Sounds like you had a defective thermostat.

Testing after the fact proves you correct. Trying to find parts on New Year's Eve ended up being our downfall.

Like the new one and looking forward to either an air compressor or an additional smoker from the ruins.

You guys know a LOT!

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I'm sure mine is made the year of 1969 and plan to change the heating elements, as I lived here going on 10 years and haven't touched it yet. Even I got to see what they look like,   Can I use 4500 wt heating elements when it uses or calls for 4000 wt??

     still looking for the ones it calls for.

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Bigger elements means a bigger draw on the electrical feeder from your main panel. Instead of worrying about the old elements that still work, have an electrician check the wiring in your house, including that feeder to the tank.

If you have to replace you could go down to two elements and reduce the draw on your system. It will still heat the water, just a little slower.

 

Edited by John Kogel

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4,500 watts adds 2 amps to the draw.  I doubt that 2 amps will make much of a difference, but I'd consider if the old dog is worth both a new element and the risk of something going wrong while trying to replace it.

Edited by Marc
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