Who Invented the Hot Air Furnace?


Quick Answer

The first known person to invent a forced hot air furnace was William Strutt, who invented a cast iron and brick hot air furnace in England in 1805; however, the first person who came up with the idea of circulating warm air to heat a building is unknown. Hot air heating systems were in use in Europe during the Middle Ages. Though records are sparse, even older accounts of forced air heating systems exist.

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Full Answer

William Strutt's cast iron and brick furnace was an innovative design that contained no moving parts but used thermodynamic principles to circulate hot air. The furnace's cast iron burner was enclosed in a brick box. A few inches of space between the brick and the iron allowed air to move freely throughout the chamber. The brick enclosure was not solid but contained many small holes that allowed cold air to enter the furnace. Cold air entered the furnace near the ground, circulated throughout the heating chamber, and exited the furnace through an upper opening.

A system of ducts connected to Strutt's furnace allowed warm air to circulate throughout a building. At the end of each duct, a system of louvers or dampers allowed inhabitants to control how much warm air entered the room.

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