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Odd pump in basement

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This pump is in the basement of a house built in 1850. The water from the pump goes up through iron pipe to a tee. One branch goes to a petcock over a drain. The other continues up the wall, through a stop valve, and across the ceiling, where it joins a heating pipe. The boiler is a 1960's Dynatherm, circulating hot water through radiators. The radiators on the first floor were exquisite, and probably dated back to 1880, if not earlier.

Was this pump used to charge the heating system with water?

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I've seen a handful. They're usually installed to fill a boiler from a cistern.

Many buildings had a central heating plant before the town supplied water. Many farms had boilers long before electricity was supplied to the property to run a well pump. In 1940, only about 60% of the farms in my area had electricity, which was better than many other agricultural areas of the state and country.

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Thanks guys. I still can't figure out why the water didn't drain back through the pump during the upstroke. I guess it has a check valve built into it.

That was a pretty cool house, with a beautifully preserved interior:

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There were also some offbeat things, such as this powder room door:

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I inspected that house in 2001 and was looking forward to doing it again, but didn't get the chance, because the buyer fired me about two hours into it. I'm just ticked that he did it first, because I was about to do it to him. The guy pulled off baseboard trim in the basement when I wasn't there. He didn't want to hear that he couldn't do that. Later, when he pulled out his knife to probe some outside trim things escalated. Before we parted ways, he told me he didn't like my "confrontational attitude". Well, uh, yeah.

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