Glad to finally track down this old idea for a furnace.
We used one in the 1940's and 1950's to heat our house
It was my dad's place and he never had a chimney fire or a gummed up chimney. He burned only dried out hardwood like maple and his kindling wood was end-cuts of kiln dried flooring from a local saw mill. Though unavailable now the point being to use dry hardwood only.
The installation of the furnace will be of interest for those interested in how the large heat output was distributed and managed safely.
To achieve this: There was a brick structure with 4 walls around the furnace. The cast iron furnace door and drum were not covered on one brick wall
the size of the enclosure was aprox. 6 feet by 10 ft. and 5ft high.
on a cement floor. The top was covered by sheet metal with pipes attached for the octopus heating ducts that were gravity fed by cold air at the base of it.
My father also ran cold water pipes into the front of the barrel and it returned into a hot water heater that also was electrically hooked up so that it would cut down on electricity needed to heat water in the winter.
It all was very efficient and safe. Many people in Huntsville used the same setup and there never were any fires it was a mere legend to hear that it was possible but never seemed to happen. It was obviously due to the dry hardwood used as fuel. Also not trying to be overly efficient and let a bit of heat go up the chimney instead of cooler smoke probably helped.
Hope this is of interest.
Thanks for this. When I spent some time in Austria recently was stayed in a small ski lodge that had wood stove setup in what sounds a bit like this configuration. It seems to be traditional in that area:
The idea is to have a really hot roaring fire in a metal (cast iron?) fire box but have the whole thing surrounded by heavy ceramic tiles. There were vents at the bottom and top to let air from the room circulate between the tile shell and the stove inside.
The idea is to heat up all the mass of masonry with one hot fire and let it shed it's heat gradually over the following hours. the whole structure was either metal or ceramic and on a concrete plinth so there was no chance of a fire. The tiles were lovely and warm to lean against after a cold day skiing!
The whole thing was a very beautiful affair - the tiles were a lovely deep green and made a very attractive feature in the space.
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