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Best water heater ever built


Mark P
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Check out this battle ship! Serial # 50 55725. So I’m guessing 1955. The date plate says tank capacity 18, but it sure looks bigger. Anyone ever fined one older? Absolutely amazing to find this as the only heater in the home and still hooked up.

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Yeah, these things are (were) great. Monel is a trade name for the tank alloy. Virtually indestructible. My grandfather built a 12 unit apartment complex in 1951 with these. The complex is still in the family and some of the tanks are still in use. The problem isn't the tanks wearing out, it's the other components. Here's a related story: A couple years ago I laughed my A$$ off when I saw some moron on eBay who didn't understand the date code trying to auction one off for something like $5000 claiming it was built in 1911! Strangely, there were no bidders.

Apparently Ruud realized that the replacement market would pretty well dry up if they kept producing them...

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Bill, must be your wife and my wife are sisters! My wife made me junk the rectangular Brown water heater from circa 1927. Had an exterior flame, no pilot, a lead plug for safety and abt 18 gal capacity. Now it is likely a new car fender somewhere!

Monel, wasn't it used for boat props/wheels?

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  • 1 month later...

Hi,

The oldest ones that I've ever seen were Hotpoint brand electric water heaters and both of them were over on the Olympic peninsula in the same town about a mile apart seen about 6 months apart. Tall light tan brutes with cast iron legs and embelleshments on everything. They were both made in 1951.

Can't imagine I'd want to take a bath in that water though. Wouldn't one expect there to be some kind of a black gunky coating developed on the interior of that tank by now?

OT - OF!!!

M.

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After seeing some of these old glass-lined guys still around, I've wondered why their not being produced anymore. It's almost like the industry leaders all got together and agreed amongst themselves not to produce any more units that will actually stand the test of time. Or perhaps it has to do with glass getting into somebodys (hot) drinking water?

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Originally posted by David McPhee

After seeing some of these old glass-lined guys still around, I've wondered why their not being produced anymore. It's almost like the industry leaders all got together and agreed amongst themselves not to produce any more units that will actually stand the test of time. Or perhaps it has to do with glass getting into somebodys (hot) drinking water?

For glass to melt, that water heater would have to get pretty darn hot! Probably has to do with manufacturing cost AND to see more water waters..

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Originally posted by David McPhee

After seeing some of these old glass-lined guys still around, I've wondered why their not being produced anymore. It's almost like the industry leaders all got together and agreed amongst themselves not to produce any more units that will actually stand the test of time. Or perhaps it has to do with glass getting into somebodys (hot) drinking water?

Most water heaters are lined with glass. It isn't a lot of glass like a thermos bottle, it's just a thin coating over the steel. Think of those old style glass-covered tin cups.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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