How Water Heaters Invented?

With a simple flick of your wrist, you could have a warm shower after a hectic day. But back in the days, it was a hustle for people to take their bath in the winter months. The early men adopted primitive methods to heat water above an open fire and later on, they used stove, containers, pots and other utensils.

Not until Edwin Ruud, a Norwegian mechanical engineer invented the first automatic, storage tank-type gas water heater. However, there are two distinct schools of thought on a particular location where the invention was made. Some researchers think that he started the work before relocating to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but another group believes the whole project was initiated because of his association with George Westinghouse.

Now, because of his doggedness, anyone can seamlessly heat water using the technologically advanced water heaters for domestic purposes like cooking, dishwashing, bathing, cleaning and space heating. Water can be heated to steam for manufacturing purposes and also in pharmacology.

 A brief history of the water heater

The pioneering work for water heating can be traced to English and Roman inventors. It’s in the record that the Romans had a unique method of heating their buildings using underneath fire. From that simple method, they developed a way to heat water in huge lead boilers. This primitive technology evolved in the construction of hot bathhouses, which many believed was the idea behind water heaters. 

Though the manual ways were popular, getting access to hot water was a challenge up until 1889 when Edwin Rudd invented the automatic storage water heater for George Westinghouse at the Fuel Gas and Manufacturing Company. The first patent heated water successfully, there were some defects as the water was not maximally hot. It took him eight more years to come up with an improved patient that includes enclosed burners, copper coil heating tubes, cast iron shell, a bottom gas heater and temperature-controlled gas-valve. The improved water heater was more effective with some safety features. 

 Because of the need to make the water heater more user-friendly, we witnessed a boom of additional inventions in the ’90s. That was when we witnessed the invention of the electric, gas and solar water heaters plus other features. 

The ‘metamorphosis' of the water heater over the years is revolutionary. One may begin to wonder how our grandfathers survived the onslaught of the cold! That is why we shouldn’t take it for granted that hot water is now easily accessible.

The formation of Ruud Manufacturing Company concluded the story of Ruud's invention. The company produced residential and commercial water heaters and was popular all around the world.


Other scientists and inventors like Ewart and Son from the UK shouldn’t be forgotten for their invention of a gas-fired water heater called the Royal Geyser. Additionally, those into the design and manufacture of tankless water heaters should also be appreciated for their efforts. However, as we use the water heater continuously, it needs maintenance and homeowners should replace the old water heaters with the tankless type for energy efficiency. For all your water heater repair and replacement needs, do not hesitate to call professionals from Just Water Heaters.