Skip to content
Drake Heating & Air, Heating & Air Conditioning, Eaton, OH

A History of Heating


As the nip of chilly fall air starts surrounding us, you probably are feeling quite toasty in your perfectly-heated home (and if you aren’t, contact us).

But before Alice H. Parker filed the first patent for what is now central heating in 1919, people around the world had to rely on other means for warmth during the winter months.

Let’s turn back time and take a look at how heating has evolved through time…

Primitive Heating

Clothes for warmth: Wool and fur were two materials used for warmth in outerwear, layered on top of linen shirts and cotton undergarments.

Heat in numbers: Where two or more may gather … they’re warmer! There is indeed warmth in crowds. In the book The Discovery of France, a report described laborers in 1844 spending their winter days in bed “packing their bodies tightly together to stay warm and to eat less food.”

Fires and fireplaces: A primitive campfire is the earliest form of heating, with Egyptians introducing bellows to fan the flames, circulating hot air.

While many homes today have either a gas or wood-burning fireplace used mainly for ambiance and not necessity, that wasn’t the case long ago.

Homes of the wealthy had enormous fireplaces in the main gathering room and had additional fireplaces in bedrooms.

Inventions in Central Heating

During the 18th and 19th centuries, there were three methods developed for central heating:

Hot air: In 1793, William Strutt designed a central hot air furnace in Derby, England. A large stove heated air pulled from the outside by an underground passage and distributed it through the building with large central ducts.

Steam: Scottish inventor James Watt was the first to build a central boiler system to carry heat around a house through a system of pipes, around the early 1800s.

Hot water: The Summer Palace of Peter the Great in Russia was heated by hot water systems, around 1710-1714. More than 150 years later, a Russian businessman invented the radiator, which played a big role in shaping modern central heating.

Mass marketing of furnaces started in the United States in the late 1930s, and after World War II, electrical heating systems began to emerge.

Modern Heating

In today’s era, we’ve seen advancements in energy efficiency, with three main “green energy” sources for heating:

Solar: Simply put, homes are warmed with natural energy from the sun. There are both passive and active systems, with passive solar space heating being the most cost-effective means of harnessing solar energy.

Geothermal:  Geothermal heat pumps use the temperature of the earth instead of the temperature outside, to operate without using as much energy. Learn about Drake’s experience with the installation and repair of geothermal systems here.

Wind: Wind heating systems harness wind power to run HVAC systems. Read about this as a green energy technology in this article.

When you’re considering a more environmentally-friendly HVAC unit, turn to the experts at Drake Heating & Air to help educate you on the best options for your home.

Reach out to us at (937) 472-0640 today.

Scroll To Top