Since central heating in homes became the standard in the UK, radiators have been a common sight in most homes, replacing the wood or coal-burning fireplace and eventually the gas and electric fires that served as heat sources in years gone by.
Early radiator designs
Invented in the 19th century by Russian businessman Franz San Galli, early examples of radiators in the Victorian era were made of cast iron and seen not only as practical heat generators but also as decorative items, designed to enhance the beauty of the rooms in stately homes. However, as radiator use spread to the general public as recently as the 1970s, radiators designs started to focus more and more on the practicality angle, with manufacturers aiming to make them more efficient instead of more beautiful.
At this point, many people considered radiators a necessary evil and sought ways of blending them into the background or hiding them behind radiator covers. Aluminium radiators, which were popular due to the speed at which they heat up in comparison with the older-style cast iron models, were designed with neutral colours and standard rectangular shapes and tucked away under windowsills or in inconspicuous corners of the room to do their job without attracting too much attention.
The return of “style”
The tide has started to turn. Gone are the days when you have to settle for boring, run-of-the-mill radiators; some amazingly creative designs are now appearing on the market. Think rectangular radiators are boring? Why not install a heart-shaped one in your family room to give a nod to the fact that this is the heart of the home where loved ones often gather? If ultra-modern clean lines are more your style, these aluminium radiators could be just the thing for you. Colours have also been set free, so why not stand out from the crowd with bright and funky colours to complement your room’s colour scheme? You could even opt to eschew colour altogether and go for bare metal radiators for a trendy industrial look.
It’s time to stop thinking of the radiator as merely a means to warm up your living space. These humble appliances are evolving to become major contributors to the style, beauty and uniqueness of your family home.