Sales Model of a Round Oak Furnace – ca 1920

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This model was made ca 1920 by the Round Oak Stove Company (officially known as the “Estate of P.D. Beckwith” after the death of its founder in 1889), of Dowagiac, Michigan. The model is made of aluminum and was used by the Warm Air Heating Research Laboratory of the University of Illinois. Similar models were used by salesmen for marketing purposes. The model represents the company’s Model B-3, No. 28 Moistair Heating System furnace, which was intended for heating 10 to 12 rooms according to Round Oak Catalog #32. The furnace was advertised by highlighting its healthful moist air and ventilation . The moisture was created by a pan of water located inside the furnace. The entire structure was intended to be enclosed within an outer casing which circulated air to be heated and then carried via convection to rooms above the furnace room. The air to be heated passed over the hot surface of the entire furnace, including the radiator which was intended to extract heat efficiently from the exhaust gases. A portion of the Round Oak’s radiator can be seen at the left of the image. Combustion gases were directed upwards into the dome-shaped chamber at the top of the furnace. A damper at the rear could be opened while the furnace was being started in order to provide a direct draft. When the damper was closed, the hot gas was directed downwards through the vertical pipes on each side of the furnace. They circulated through a cast iron structure at the bottom and then upwards via another vertical pipe at the rear and thence to the flue and chimney. This provided a large area of heated metal for the air to be heated to pass over. Round Oak provided many sizes and types of furnaces similar to this model up until 1947 when the company ceased business.
The model is highly detailed and clearly illustrates the important elements of the furnace’s design and function including all of the access doors, humidifier, radiator and flue system, various dampers, and the mechanism for shaking the ashes into the ash-pit.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1920
overall - model: 12 1/2 in x 9 1/2 in x 14 in; 31.75 cm x 24.13 cm x 35.56 cm
overall - base: 3/4 in x 10 5/8 in; x 1.905 cm x 26.9875 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of National Warm Air Heating and Air Conditioning Association, Cleveland, Ohio
Sales model
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Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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