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OK, I know some of you guys live for this kind of opportunity...Now's the time to demonstrate your superior knowledge and win fabulous prizes. OK, so I made up the prize part. Sorry. But you still have the satisfaction of teaching me (us?) something.

This thing was in a 120 year old home. It was a fairly large 2-story home. We don't have a whole lot of older housing stock around here, so even though I have been inspecting for 9 years I've never seen one of these. Except for a new roof deck and roofing courtesy of a tornado a few years earlier the home had been absolutely minimally updated. No central heat or air. Kitchen circa 1930. Still had the remains of an old asbestos-jacketed coal-fired water heater of some sort and huge pile of moldering coal in a lean-to at the rear. I half expected to find a skeletonized old lady in a rocking chair in the attic. Instead, I found this. I was slightly disappointed at first, but finding a dessicated old lady would doubtless have required more paperwork so it was probably a good thing.

I suspect it's some sort of tank from a steam heat system, but I don't know. The tank was heavy galvanized steel with big ass rivets holding the top and bottom. The object attached to the side was a glass sight level. There was a large spherical fitting on the top with a line out of it, and you can see the line entering the tank at the bottom. And, of course, it was encrusted with pigeon poop.

So what is it?

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Open systems were on the decline between 1910 and 1920. I think only a very few would have been installed after 1925. Before 1910, closed systems were being described as "having an element of danger" and "far more dangerous than steam boilers" because of the reliance on "safety valves".

The tank pictured above was manufactured by the American Radiator Company, at the Bayonne, NJ plant.

In the late '20s, the American Radiator Company merged with the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company. Eventually, the name of the company officially became what people were already calling it for many years. What is the name of the company? [:-graduat

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Brian G. wrote:

American Standard, by any chance?


The American Radiator Company merged with the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company to become American Radiator & Standard Sanitary Corporation. Everyone called it American Standard, so the officially shortened the name in 1948.

Chad wrote:

You should have done something great with that mind of yours. Invented something or discovered something or even played on Jeopardy.


My brain is filled with mostly useless stuff about old buildings and their parts. When I see stuff (like that expansion tank pictured above) hundreds of times, I get curious and find a book, manual, advertisement or catalogue that gives me primary documentation about the product and its maker. I have very limited storage capacity, so any time I learn something new, that's interesting to me, but useless, really important information leaks out. Right now, I can't remember my kids names, or which car I was driving.

Les wrote:

I think that is one that Bill installed.


You only posted that to preclude the usual humorous remark that always implies that you were present for most ancient history.

Neal wrote:

...was that type of system ever installed with a circulator? The ones I've seen still in use were gravity.

My experience is the same and I've never seen a manual or diagram showing or describing an "open" FHW system. I'm guessing a closed system would be better suited since there is smaller piping and radiators (less water volume) and higher pressure than open systems.

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