Radiators are best known as the source of heating and cooling for automobiles. Romans were among the first to use central heat to warm their homes through a system called a hypocaust. The heating radiator was invented between 1855 and 1857 by Franz San Galli, a Polish-born Russian businessman. Similar systems were used in ancient Korea, and dates as far back as the Bronze Age. By 1700, Russian engineers had began designing water based systems for central heating.
During the 1830’s, steam-heating systems were developed and installed. The first of these systems was installed in the home of the Governor of the Bank of England, John Horley Palmer. This allowed Palmer to grow grapes in England’s cold climate. There are others who claim to have invented the radiator as we know it today, still all evidence points to the development of the radiator beginning sometime around the mid 19th Century. In addition to Franz San Galli, two distinguished inventors known as Joseph Nason and Robert Brigss also designed and produced a radiator in 1863. In 1872, Nelson H Bundy designed the “Bundy Loop,” a popular cast iron radiator design that is reflected in many of the products we use today.
In the 1970’s group of manufacturers decided to make their own complete replacement radiators. This concept was very well received and the manufacturers only sold to radiator repair shops. In the late 1970’s the plastic tank radiator was introduced. Aluminum systems weigh less than copper and they can be put together by machines, and eliminate the problems associated with lead. The plastic aluminum system was not made to last forever or be serviced. In 1981 and 1982 plastic tank systems were in a limited number of cars coming straight from the manufacturer and by the early 1990’s another company was putting only the plastic aluminum systems in their vehicles.
The radiator is an essential component of the vehicle’s cooling system. Without the radiator, the engine would overheat and the components would fail. This is specifically true in hot climates such as Phoenix, AZ. There have been some major improvements to the radiator throughout history, changes that made the system better,more efficient and even disposable. Changes that make it possible for the consumer to choose the style and type of radiator they want from radiator shops for repairs, while at the same time giving the manufacturers more choices.