Sales Model of a Holland Furnace – ca 1920

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This model was made ca 1920 by the Holland Furnace Company of Holland, 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 furnace was advertised by highlighting its high quality castings and efficiency . The furnace 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. The radiator can be seen at the top of the image. Combustion gases were directed upwards into the dome-shaped chamber at the top. A damper in the flue at the rear of the radiator 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 caused to flow around the entire circumference of the radiator. This provided a large area of heated metal for the air to be heated to pass over. The small door at the front of the radiator was for cleaning purposes. Holland also claimed it was a safety feature . Small explosions inside the furnace due to defective coal would blow the cleaning door open, thus avoiding combustion gases and dirt from entering heated rooms. The furnace included a humidifier; moisture was created by a pan of water located inside the furnace. Holland Furnace Company was co-founded in 1906 by J.P. Kolla and sold furnaces across the country until its demise in the 1960s.
The model is highly detailed and clearly illustrates the important elements of the furnace’s design and function including all of the access doors, radiator and flue system, various dampers, and the mechanism for shaking the ashes into the ash-pit. Just as was the case in the actual furnace, the model has separate sections for the ash pit, combustion chamber, fire pot and radiator.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1920
place made
United States: Michigan, Holland
overall: 9 1/2 in x 6 1/2 in x 10 1/8 in; 24.13 cm x 16.51 cm x 25.7175 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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