In a world where my generation (I’m ashamed to say) demands warning labels that say “Hot” on Hot coffee, and the generation that follows mine manages to regularly kill itself off with things like sponge nerf balls and the little plastic pellets shot out of toy guns, I am often amazed any of our forefathers survived long enough to get us to this point.
Case in point…dug out from under the house this weekend…behold:
The Diabolical Water Heater of Flaming (or Flash Steamed) Death!
Don’t let the small size fool you…based on the orifice sizes I’d guess the burner in the bottom of this cast iron monster is well over 100,000 btu’s.
It would work like this…if you wanted hot water, you opened the door, turned on the big, honkin’ gas valve underneath, put a match to the monster burner, slammed the door shut, and cranked the gas on till flames shot out all the seams and the wonderously viscious looking exhaust flue at the top.
Keep in mind this thing would be attached to the wall in your house, probably, just to be daring, over some nice Victorian wallpaper over fabric over lumber.
Now, off to the tub with you to run your hot water. Note, no pressure relief…no thermostat. If you forgot about it…or were a little slow on the uptake, it might explode, or it might just flash the pressurized water to steam when you turned on the faucet (hot or cold) somewhere in the house.
Once you were done with the hot water, or steam, or amazing explosions, and assuming your house didn’t burn down, you manually turned off the valve.
Now, add a house full of kids, relatives, or guests…
I fly small airplanes. I sail little boats on big oceans. I ride a motorcycle regularly in Dallas traffic. I work with electricity and hot steel. None of that scares me.
This appliance? Installed and hooked up? Yeah, it would scare me.
I’m not sure what to do with it…I’m thinking it must be preserved just for the sheer audacity of the thing itself!
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