Chicago Antiques Guide

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Humphrey Radiantfire

Posted Tuesday, October 25 by CAG

Brian and Ron:
I have a general idea of what this is (see photo) but I'm looking for more specifics, including whether or not it's worth anything. It's basically a gas fireplace accessory which (I was told by my house's previous owner) puts off a sheet of blue flame when lit. We don't have it hooked up (the fire risk seems rather scary) and an experienced chimney repairman we hired said he had never seen anything like it. It appears to be made of brass (probably iron clad in brass) and is quite heavy. Even though we don't have it hooked up, I'm rather fond of the way it looks just as a decorative piece. But of course, if it's a rare and valued item, I'd of course be interested in selling it. I'd love to know what it's worth, along
with more info on the manufacturer. I can send more photos if you like.

Pete
humphrey1.jpg

The Humphrey Company started in the early 1900's, as the General Gas Light Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In 1916, they patented the Radiantfire gas heater (there are many different models), which operated on natural gas, heating a set of ceramic inserts that would glow and radiate heat into the room. They became very popular and sold well. By 1920 there were over 700,000 already installed and the company was turning them out at rates up to 150,000 a year. Because of that, there are enough still around to keep prices pretty reasonable. The highest one sold for recently on Ebay was about $255 in excellent working order, others sold for as little as $15-$20. Yours seems a little more ornate, but the ceramic inserts look suspicious in the photo. If the ceramic inserts aren't chipped, cracked, or broken; they might just need a good cleaning.

It probably would be dangerous to operate yours without having the unit certified by your local gas company. There are a number of posts on the internet from people who have them installed and love them. Replacement inserts are apparently available, but I did not find any sites offering them while doing research.

It appears that yours could be made functional again, but also serves as a very decorative fire screen if you choose not to restore it.

4 Comments | Leave a comment

I saw a heater that was at someones yard with some other things but it was too heavy for me to pick up. A few days later, everything else was gone except the heater. My sister helped me bring it home and I saw that it was a Humphrey Radiantfire. We put it in our fireplace but I don't think we will use it for heating. I looked it up online and found only 2 websites with some information. One site is www.dearbornheater.com/radiants . They have the replacement ceramic inserts. Emily and Katie, I hope you find what you're looking for.  

Hum I just bought a Humphrey Pat#55 and I have no idea what the year is can any one help?

I have a very ornate one in working condition but metal need to be restored looks like lions feet Awesome heater
happycappy123@yahoo.com 

missing the radiants which are available humphery won't work with out them. Don 360 750-1776

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