History of Home Heating

November 12, 2019


While enjoying a brisk New Jersey evening around a campfire with friends, some of us may have had the thought, “What would life be like if this was our only form of heat?” A few days later, while cozy in our beds, it probably doesn’t occur to us how far our species has come with home heating, as we snuggle into soft, warm covers under a roof with central heating. 

As November is the month of gratitude and thankfulness, perhaps we should take a moment to be thankful for forgotten daily conveniences like central heating, the evolution of which took a lot of work and ingenuity of past generations.

Evolution of Central Heating

The earliest form of central heating was the simple campfire. People would gather not only for heat but also for safety from predators. Moving the campfire indoors and opening a hole in the roof for ventilation brought with it the welcome relief of increased security. The hearth remained a place of gathering with family, storytelling, cooking, and safety for millennia.  

As early as 1300 B.C., King Arawa of Turkey installed an underfloor heating system using fire as heat and wood for fuel. Following closely behind were the Romans, who used a similar invention called a hypocaust to heat not only their homes but also their public bathhouses. Hot tubs in ancient times? They had the right idea!

These technologies may have been lost with their civilizations but were rediscovered when we needed a new form of central heating based on coal. The first commercial coal mining began in 1748, followed closely by the invention of the furnace by American inventor Daniel Pettibone. This new furnace was modeled after the hypocaust (thank you, Romans!). Shortly following this invention, in 1816, the Massachusetts Medical College became the first building to be centrally heated.

Welcoming Place to Gather

Heat has always played an important role in gathering, health, friendship, and community. In those cold and dark winter months, nothing beats the sensation of walking through the front door of your home to the welcoming heat from your HVAC unit. A.J. Perri wants to make sure that your home is a welcoming place to gather this November with family and friends. If you feel that you need some help with your HVAC, just give us a call at (732) 733-2548.


Last Updated: June 09, 2023