Sturtevant’s Patent Model of a Hot Air Furnace - ca 1869

This model was filed with the application to the U.S. Patent Office for Patent Number 95,281 issued to B. F. Sturtevant of Jamaica Plain, MA on September 28, 1869. Mr. Sturtevant’s patent involved recirculating the air being heated in a room or apartment . He had developed improved designs for rotary blowers in the past, initially to provide ventilating air in the work areas of his factory which made wooden pegs for shoes. In this patent he combined the rotary blower, which would be driven by a steam engine, with a heat exchanger through which passed the exhaust steam of the engine. The exhaust steam travelled through the vertical openings shown in the center of the photograph of the patent model. The air to be heated passed through several horizontal pipes inside the heat exchanger cylinder. The steam heated these pipes which in turn transferred heat to the air. The blower is at the left of the model. Its inlet air came via the return duct at the right after passing through the heat exchanger. Heated air was forced by the blower into the room at the lower left. The inventor claimed his design improved efficiency of a furnace that continuously reheated the same air. Only a portion of the heat was lost in the room being heated, and a significant energy savings was claimed over heating cold outside air.
Sturtevant was extremely successful with this and his many other patents relating to heating and ventilation. In 1860 he founded the B. F. Sturtevant Co. which was extremely successful and long lived; Westinghouse bought the company in 1945, and operations continued at the Hyde Park, MA factory until its closing in 1989. The company’s equipment was installed in many private and public buildings including the U.S. Capitol and the “New National Museum, Washington, D.C” – now the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
The patent model is constructed of wood and metal. It represents the central duct work, heat exchanger, and rotary blower of Sturtevant’s patent. The air pipes are modelled inside the heat exchanger.
Currently not on view
Object Name
patent model, furnace, hot air
date made
ca 1869
patent date
Sturtevant, B. F.
overall: 10 1/4 in x 12 1/2 in x 14 in; 26.035 cm x 31.75 cm x 35.56 cm
associated place
United States: Massachusetts, Boston, Jamaica Plain
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
patent number
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Patent Models
Patent Models
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Patent Models
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.