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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    What was the oldest furnace you've ever had to service?

    Hey there HVAC-Talk members!

    I'm putting together a list for our next issue of magazine and I need your help. What is the oldest furnace that you've ever had to work on? List the make/model and how old the furnace was. You can even post a picture too, if you have one. Thanks for your help!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Houston area
    I think it was "myself"... lol...

    I remember replacing and old coal fired forced air Carrier furnace in a basement with a DC fan motor. That's right folks, DC. The home was a three story mansion (not including basement) Victorian with CAST IRON ductwork! For it's time and considering the age it was an engineering and architectural marvel.

    To old furnace was located in a smallish basement with a narrow and very steep wooden stairway. We had to cut up the old unit with a torch and carry it out piece by small piece. I that same vein, we had to disassemble the new gas furnaces piece by piece, screw by screw and carry it all down and reassemble them.

    As far as models numbers, hehe, they were cast into the heat exchanger and reside somewhere as recycled metal. I had heard, but can't verify, that old furnace was sold by Montgomery Ward via mail order and delivered in pieces by horse and buggy.

    Very interesting question!
    The picture in my avatar is of the Houston Ship Channel and was taken from my backyard. I like to sit outside and slap mosquitos while watching countless supertankers, barges and cargo ships of every shape and size carry all sorts of deadly toxins to and fro. It's really beautiful at times.....just don't eat the three eyed fish....

    `. .` .>(((>

    `... `. .` .>(((>

    .` .>(((>


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Rochester, NY, USA
    last year I replaced a (circa) 1930's Cast iron, coal fired--converted to gas fired, gravity furnace. There was no name or model number. But the burner diffuser, which is about 12" in diameter, is sitting on my cast iron wood fired stove at the cabin up north.

    It took me about 4 hours to remove, with a sledge hammer. I carried it out a few pieces at a time.
    I only drink a little, but when I do
    I turn into another person and THAT person drinks a lot

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Bangor Maine
    1911/1912 boilers in Downtown Bangor Maine. Not sure of model #s. Dates are very close due to the fact Downtown Bangor burned to the ground in 1911.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Replaced an old wood burning central furnace in a basement. With the duct attached it looked like a mix between a huge spider or octopus. The unit was convert to gas, but it still had the original burner door. I saved the burner door and gave it to a friend that mounted it onto his trailer mounted smoker. The door had a St. Louis company name with the unit #08 stamped on it. Also replaced a John Zink furnace that was in the attic. I believe the unit was approximately 60-70 years old in 2001. Was extremely heavy. We had to also disassemble it as well before removing it from the attic.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Coastal Maine
    I have replaced a few of those beast in Bangor myself, Mainiac. I also replaced an old steam boiler in an old "Captain's House" in Ellsworth, ME. The boiler had begun its life as coal and been converted to oil. We made out some dates on the casting that appear to be 1904. It was still burning strong in 2007 when we replaced it. That is 103 yrs of faithful service.

    No idea of model numbers.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    It hasn't been replaced yet and don't remember the brand off hand, but a couple of years ago. I had serviced a converted coal fired boiler that was built and installed in 1929. It was converted to oil fired in the 1940's, and converted again to gas in the 1960's.

    Now I did find this poster in a house a few weeks ago.

    When you do a job, Always make it easier for the next guy, because you may be the next guy working on it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    SouthEast NC ICW & Piedmont Foothills
    Thacker gas furnace, had Tandem belt drive squirrel cage blower ( one in front of the other)

    haven't seen another since
    It`s better to be silent and thought the fool; than speak and remove all doubt.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Urbandale IA. USA
    I replaced a gravity flow made of BRICKS. The heat exchanger looked like a pot bellied stove inside a 6' X 6' X 6' brick room. (roof was tin) The unit had been converted from coal to nat. gas.
    NO brand/model tag...
    It took 10-12 hr using a 5 gal bucket to hall all the brick out of the basement.
    Those who dance, appear insane to those who do not hear the music.
    Those who believe, appear ignorant to those who do not know God.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    NE FL.
    Several years ago I had the "pleasure" to change the sock on a 1956 Carrier oil burner...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Winston-Salem NC
    Old Williams oil furnace.
    Model number was 2 digits IIRC and serial number was 3 digits, and the first one was 0.
    It actually worked, but owner wanted HP installed so it had to go.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    This is a great question !!!!!!! I love to hear about all the old stuff, and even some still running...Hot water heat is still the most reliable out there.....i my opinion at for me it would be an old 50's boiler in a school...coal convert to nat. gas..1.2 million clue as to the #'s. i am keeping this thread

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    South Carolina
    I've apparently got rather young ones. A pair of 1954 Pacific Steel 500 horsepower firetube boilers, lost the model number years ago.
    When we inherited them, one had had a cracked fire tube in the heatex since 4 years ago and the owners didn't want to do anything with them until the operating one had a catastrophic failure. Right before we lost the bid for the service contract, the operating one got a cracked firetube so, shutdown and tagged out.
    Owners tried to argue us into repairing it but, since Pacific Steel went out of business long before now and parts were no longer available, we managed to avoid that mess.
    Still, that became the concern of the contractor that won the bid for the service contract and, knowing them, they probably tried to repair the boiler.
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and Im not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

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