Your furnace is a device used for high-temperature heating. The name comes from the Greek word Fornax, which means oven. The heat energy to fuel a furnace may be supplied directly by fuel combustion, by electricity such as the electric arc furnace or through induction heating.
For the first 100 years in America, home heating was dominated by wood in brick fireplaces or the cast iron Franklin Stove. It was not until 1885 that the nation would start burning more coal than wood. By the end of the 19th century, the invention of low-cost cast iron radiators would bring central heating to American homes with a coal-fired boiler in the basement that delivered hot water or steam to radiators in every room.
In 1935, a forced air furnace was invented. This furnace used electric fans to pump warm air from a coal fire throughout the house. Not long after this invention was released, inventors improved it by using an oil or gas flame to warm the air. These furnaces were extremely popular since homeowners didn’t have to shovel coal on a fire to stay warm.
Currently, about 60 percent of Americans have gas furnaces, 9 percent have oil furnaces and about 25 percent have electric furnaces or heat pumps. Most people with electric heat live in the warm, southern areas of the United States. Modern-day Americans love their central heat units and could never imagine what life was like when you had to heat with wood.