Gold and Foskett's Patent Model of a Steam Heating Apparatus - ca 1862

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This model was filed with the application to the U.S. Patent Office for Patent Number 36,000 issued to Samuel F. Gold and William A. Foskett on July 29, 1862. Their patent was for a design for a steam radiator that warmed the air without excessive loss of humidity which was a disadvantage for then existing radiators. They sought an optimum temperature for the exterior surfaces of the radiator that would efficiently warm a room. Older designs allowed the surface temperature to approach that of the steam, and the designers claimed this damaged the air in the room by “….reason of the burning and decomposition of the extraneous matter in the air and the destruction of its moisture...” Their solution was to increase the surface area of the radiator elements and to distribute the steam within the radiator so as to uniformly and efficiently heat the elements. Each radiator element consisted of a long, thin chamber with many external conical projections. Steam entered the element in the center, and the center flanges were designed to allow multiple elements to be joined together with a single bolt. The interior of the chamber had a diaphragm that separated it in half horizontally so as to cause the steam to flow first outward to the end of the chamber and then return to the center where it exited the chamber. This controlled and even flow of steam on both sides of the central flanges had the advantage of producing an even thermal expansion across all parts thus avoiding leakage of steam at the joints. Another benefit of the open design was that there were no areas for steam to condense and become trapped in the form of water when the heat was turned off. This greatly avoided the chance of an explosion when the steam returned and obviated the need for a check valve common in other steam heat systems. A key design feature was that the conical projections on the surface of the elements were arranged differently on the front and rear of the chamber. Those on the rear were in rows and columns offset from those on the front by the diameter of the conical projections. This staggered the projections so air circulating among them would have maximum surface area to contact in its passage. The radiator design was made a part of the Union Steam and Water Heating Company steam heating system which was installed in many buildings including schools and homes . In 1891 the original patent was assigned to that company.
The patent model is constructed of cast iron. It illustrates the design features of two truncated radiator elements joined at their center by the connecting bolt. The staggered conical projections are visible as are the separating diaphragms within each. The model is labeled “S.F. Gold & W.A. Foskett.”
Currently not on view
Date made
ca 1862
patent date
Foskett, William A.
Gold, Samuel F.
associated place
United States: New York, Brooklyn
Physical Description
iron (overall material)
overall: 11 1/4 in x 8 1/4 in x 8 in; 28.575 cm x 20.955 cm x 20.32 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
patent number
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Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Patent Models
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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