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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

A Tour of Unusual Heating Systems from Different Cultures

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Yucatán Studio
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Heating systems are essential for keeping homes comfortable in colder climates. While central heating, fireplaces, and space heaters are common options in many parts of the world, many unique heating systems have been used throughout history and across different cultures. Below,  we’ll take a tour of some of the most unusual heating systems from different cultures to see how radiators, as we know them, have come to exist and evolve. 

Korean Ondol Heating

The ondol is a traditional Korean heating system that dates back to the 14th century. The system consists of a raised platform made of stone or clay, with channels underneath for hot air and smoke to flow. A fire is built in a furnace or stove outside the house, and the smoke is directed through a flue under the floor. The warm air then rises through the channels in the platform, heating the room from below.

Moroccan Zellige Heating

Zellige is a form of Moroccan tilework that is often used for decorative purposes. However, it also has a practical function as a heating system. The tiles are placed over a network of pipes that carry hot water, which heats the room from below. This system is not only effective but also aesthetically pleasing, as the colourful tiles add a unique touch to any room.

Japanese Kotatsu Heating

The kotatsu is a low table with a blanket or futon draped over it, and a heating element underneath. People sit around the table with their legs under the blanket, staying warm and cozy in the winter. This system is particularly popular in Japan, where it is often used for socializing and relaxation.

Inuit Qulliq Heating

The Inuit people of the Arctic use a traditional oil lamp called a qulliq for heating and cooking. The lamp is made of soapstone, with a hollow cavity for oil and a wick made of moss or cotton. The qulliq produces a warm, steady flame that can heat a small igloo or tent, and also provides light and a means for cooking food.

Indian Angithi Heating

The angithi is a traditional Indian heating system that consists of a small charcoal or wood-burning stove. The stove is typically made of clay or metal and is used for heating a small room or space. The angithi is often used in rural areas where there is no electricity or central heating and is also used for cooking food.

Roman Hypocaust Heating

The Romans developed a sophisticated heating system called the hypocaust, which was used in public bathhouses and wealthy homes. The system consisted of a furnace or boiler that heated water, which was then circulated through pipes under the floor and behind the walls. The warm air rising from the pipes would heat the room, providing a luxurious and comfortable environment.

These are just a few examples of the many unusual heating systems that have been used throughout history and across different cultures. While some of these systems may seem outdated or impractical in modern times, they represent important innovations in heating technology and reflect the unique needs and customs of different societies. By exploring these systems, we can gain a greater appreciation for the ingenuity and creativity of human culture.

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