Who Invented

Who Invented The Radiator?


by George


The radiator, or “rad” for short, is one of the core components in all modern heating systems. Without it, your house would be cold all year round!

So who invented the radiator? To find out who invented the radiator, we need to look at who invented central heating.

If you want to know who invented central heating, then head on to our article on who invented central heating. You’ll learn who invented central heating and who made the first boilers. Once you’ve got that information, you’ll want to come back here for who invented the radiator!

But if you’re not interested in who created boilers, let’s get straight down to business.

So, who invented the radiator? 

The credit for patenting radiators goes to..

 Franz San Galli

The heating radiator was created by Franz San Galli, a Kingdom of Prussia-born Russian entrepreneur who lived in St. Petersburg in 1855.

He originally named his invention a “hot water radiator system,” but in 1862, it was shortened to simply “radiator.” Franz San Galli, who invented the radiator, tried to create a heating system that would use steam.

His steam-powered machine heated rooms by forcing hot steam into iron pipes and radiators through a network of insulated chambers placed near the ceiling in each room.

San Galli’s company became one of Russia’s largest producers of valves for steam engines during the 19th century.

History of Radiators

After the invention of the first version of the radiator in 1855., inventors soon came up with new, improved prototypes.

Eventually, cooling systems were developed through the 19th century. The first American patent for a steam heating radiator is dated 1875. It belongs to Philip W. Pratt of Newtonville, Massachusetts, who was granted US Patent #147,129.

At first, large cast-iron radiators with short heights but very wide bases were produced. These radiators gave off the heat quickly but cooled down rapidly (the same principle is still used in modern furnaces). After their inventor, a Scottish firm that began manufacturing these radiators around this time called them “parabolic” or “Parry” radiators.

Types of Radiators

There are many types of radiators, and each is used for a different purpose. There are also various design styles, but the two main designs in present use are low-pressure and high-pressure. The pressure refers to how much steam or water is pushed into the radiator. An average high-pressure system pushes about 300 pounds per square inch (psi), while low pressure only pushes 1 psi.

High-Pressure Radiators

These radiators work almost identical to San Galli’s original device by heating pressurized water and pumping it through iron pipes throughout the building. They transfer heat quickly and distribute it evenly throughout space because they can warm objects more effectively than low-pressure models do. Then again, they also consume more energy because of their higher operating pressure.

High-pressure designs are primarily used in new homes and more unique commercial buildings. Sometimes, the water tubes may be wrapped with asbestos or fiberglass insulation to retain heat better. A variation of this type is the convector radiator which has a more extensive base. It loses less heat by radiation through the wall behind it.

Low-Pressure Radiators

These radiators work on the same principle as high-pressure ones, but they do not need high pressures to function. The most common type has fins along its length that transfer heat into the air more efficiently than pipes full of hot water can do alone. This makes them expensive to operate because they lose far more heat due to their lower operating pressure.

However, modern home has a central heating system to monitor and regulate the heat throughout. Low-pressure radiators can heat individual rooms while retaining the cost-benefit of working with only one unit. The radiator extends across the room in one direction and out from it along another wall to minimize heat loss through radiation.


This is a wide variety of radiators that heats air rather than water or steam that flows through pipes. The convector’s fins have been bent into an S shape to stand closer together without touching. In this way, they gain efficiency by transferring more air movement into usable warmth rather than wasting energy through free space between them. A fan may blow hot air over the fins or blow it through a vent to warm the room.

A radiator has an almost infinite number of uses. Still, its primary purpose is to heat gas or water and channel it throughout the home to provide warmth for comfortable living. The first device was made in 1855 by Finnish inventor Fjodor San Galli who designed it as part of Russia’s first steam-powered heating system. It wasn’t until 1929 that American inventors were granted their patent for modern radiators with steel tubing running through them instead of cast iron pipes.

How Radiator Works

A radiator heats by conducting heat and transfers it throughout the home. The hot water or steam moves through pipes, giving off its heat to fins along the way. This heats fins around the perimeter of the device and collects in a reservoir. It then moves out from this like blood returning to the heart, into other parts of the house.

Modern low-pressure radiators are known for their relatively expensive price tag, while the designs incorporated into older homes are more affordable. They can also be used to heat individual rooms within a living space rather than an entire building. It is essential to check the size of your radiator before purchasing because it determines how much hot water or steam can flow through it. Suppose you want to install one in your new home. In that case, high-pressure units are best installed by professional plumbers who know exactly what they’re doing. Still, low-pressure radiators can be placed on new homes by do-it-yourself homeowners who know their limits and research everything involved first.

There you go, now you know who invented the radiator and is responsible for making them what they are today. Now you can brag to your friends when the next heating season starts!

Head over to our Who Invented page for more articles on who invented stuff around you.


George is a writer who loves to cover all things celebrity and lifestyle. With a passion for pop culture and a keen eye for the latest trends, George brings a fresh perspective to his writing. When he's not crafting articles, you can find him reading a good book or hiking in the great outdoors.