The First Water Heater

The first water heater was invented in 1868 by Benjamin Waddy  Maughan.  Before the invention of the water heater, hot water for a bath was a time consuming luxury.  Anyone wanting a bath had to heat the water in small batches over an open fire or on a stove and transfer them one by one to a bathtub. Maughan called his instantaneous water heater,first water heater the “gas geyser”, it employed natural gas to heat the water as it flowed into the tub.  The geyser didn’t have a flue to vent gas vapors, so it was dangerous to use.  Maughan’s  design inspired mechanical engineer Edwin Ruud a Norwegian immigrant to the US to patent his automatic storage water heater in 1889.  Ruud’s water heater was a cast iron appliance with a copper heat exchanger.  When the water faucet was opened , an actuator valve turned on the heat burners. In 1897 Ruud opened a company in Pittsburg, PA.  The Ruud Manufacturing Company became an industry leader in the first water heater products. De Hart Plumbing, serving Manhattan Kansas, Junction City Kansas and Wamego Kansas.

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