Cast iron radiators have been the hottest interior feature for the last two centuries. Not only are they energy efficient, their stylish and elegant appearance makes them an essential centrepiece. Today, reproduction radiators have replicated traditional designs but have sectional columns which are assembled to meet individual requirements. The Victorian cast iron radiator is replicated from a 19th century pattern and brings a touch of period authenticity whilst providing all the functional benefits of genuine cast iron. The smart appearance is an ideal choice for both period and contemporary settings. The elegant Victorian ‘Nouveau’ and Burlington cast iron column radiators are enhanced with a scrolled relief pattern making them an eye-catching feature for period styled interiors.
The history of cast iron radiators can be traced right back to the early 18th century with America leading the way with their invention. In 1872 Nelson H Bundy invented the ‘Bundy Loop’, the first cast iron radiator which became increasingly popular and played an important role in the advancement in the technology which we now use in our modern day radiators.
The Victorians developed the cast iron radiator design and they became a decorative feature in many properties. As styles changed, so did the popularity of radiators and although, homeowners loved the comforts of central heating, the radiator was considered ‘obtrusive’ within a room. The marvel of a foundryman’s art in making thin cast iron ornate radiators became a thing of the past, as enclosing radiators behind boxed grills and painting them to disguise them within a room become the new interior challenge.
Therefore we have now in fact gone full circle, as big bulky cast iron radiators with peeling paint salvaged mainly from demolished hospitals and schools have made a reappearance as a fashionable ‘must have’ interior feature. Today’s trend of visiting salvage yards to buy reclaimed goods to restore Victorian and Edwardian interiors back to their original splendour has launched the revival of the cast iron radiator which now claims pride of place in living areas.
Reclaiming radiators plays an important part in gathering material evidence of our heritage. Many have been saved from the scrap man’s crusher and been sandblasted back to their former glory. Reputable salvage yards are very good at testing the cast iron radiators for leaks and are pressure rinsed to remove any sediment. However, there is a common situation where reclaimed radiators do not fit within the room and their functionality is handicapped by either providing too much heat or not enough, therefore becoming a redundant decorative feature.
Although many restorers of cast iron radiators feel that modern replicas lack the elegance and quality finish of the originals, Tuscan Foundry reproduction cast iron radiators provide design and heating solutions for both period and contemporary settings. An authentic look can still be achieved by choosing a cast iron radiator that is based on a Victorian or Nouveau design. An elaborately scrolled detailed design will complement any Victorian or Edwardian interior and look elegantly stylish.
There are a number of modern replica cast iron radiators available which can be used in conjunction with other radiators and forms of heating.
One of the biggest advantages of buying a reproduction cast iron radiator is that they are ‘bespoke’. Therefore, you can have as many sections as you wish according to the size of the room and also be energy efficient. Reproduction cast iron radiators also come with all the fixtures and fittings which can save time and money in the long run.
Whether it’s a reclaimed radiator or a reproduction radiator careful consideration is needed to assess the room’s heat requirements and where to position the radiator. Cast iron radiators are highly efficient, therefore spread and retain heat evenly for much longer periods than modern steel radiators. Radiators are most efficient in the coldest part of the house; normally an outside wall would be an ideal position. However, cast iron radiators no longer have a ‘humble’ status and their revival as an essential stylish feature means it is perfectly acceptable to position your radiator to suit your room’s layout and furnishing arrangements or even make it a centrepiece.