Ancient Greek History

Ancient Greeks Invented Central Heating

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Illustration of a series of vector drawings for the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Temple of Artemis at EphesusWe rely on central heating to help keep us warm. Sure, many of us also use older heating systems, such as a fireplace, but it is rare to find a modern home that doesn’t have a central heating system in place – even in warm climates. It’s so much a part of our lives that we don’t even think about where it came from!

Well, we can add central heating to the long list of Ancient Greek inventions. They were the first to have an indoor heating system in place and other cultures added to the early designs. However, without the Ancient Greeks, it’s possible that central heating as we know it today wouldn’t necessarily be in place. Here’s more information:

What Central Heating Is

Central heating is defined as an internal unit that uses one heating source to heat multiple rooms. These days, central heating systems can take many forms, such as those that use a furnace, boiler, or heat pump to propel heat throughout a house or commercial building. Large commercial buildings often have a large HVAC unit as the main source of heat. The one thing that is consistent across all of these methods is that they only use one heat source.

How the Ancient System Worked

In Ancient Greece, the one heat source that was used was a simple fire. They figured out how to propel this heat through various pipes and send it to different rooms within the building. The pipes, which were hidden under the floor, would heat the surface of the floor, which would then heat the room. Today, it is still possible to incorporate heated tiles in the overall scheme to heat a room. In order for this method of central heating to work, it required that the fire be constantly maintained. This role most often fell to the household slaves or servants.

Famous Examples of Central Heating

There are several known examples of when central heating was used by the Ancient Greeks. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, for instance, used a central heating system like the one described above. Not only is the structure itself a fine example of an Ancient Greek tempel, but it also gives us an example of the way these heating systems worked. The heat was generated by a large fire, and hot air generated by this fire would be forced through giant flues that were planted in the ground. These hot flues would heat the floor and eventually the air in the entire temple. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why this temple is also considered one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World?

As you can see, this system is rather simplistic and it relies on the fact that the fire itself needs to constantly be lit. Over the centuries, other cultures have taken this basic idea and made some of their own adjustments.


Central Heating – Wikipedia

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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