Archive for June, 2012

Building a cast iron radiator.

June 20, 2012

Builbing a Cast Iron Radiator

A question we are often asked at Pendragon Radiators, is ‘why does it take so long to make a cast iron radiator?’.

The answer quite simply is that all the radiators we supply are assembled from scratch and built to bespoke requirements for each individual customer.

Firstly, once a customer has ordered their radiators, we often have to source the paint colour requested. A selection of popular off the shelf colours are usually readily available, but when a customer wants a colour match, it can take a few days to order the paints in which are specially mixed to the customers specifications. The radiator sections are then mounted on racks and sprayed before being left out to dry naturally. The spraying process is repeated, allowing to dry fully between each application.

The radiators are then sent off to the assembly line to be built to the sizes requested. This is a manual time intensive process which can take a couple of days for large orders, especially when oversized radiators have been requested due to the weight when moving them around.

Testing a Cast Iron Radiator

The next stage is a pressure test to 8 bar. The radiators are pressurized and left to stand for at least 24hrs. Not all radiators pass the pressure test 1st time. The pressure test is well above any operating pressures the radiators will be under once installed which is usually about 1.5 – 2bar. If a radiator fails the pressure test, it is taken apart and rebuilt before being retested. There can be several reasons for failing the pressure test such as the cast iron radiator can split at a join, have a hairline fracture or a faulty washer joint.

Once the radiator has been tested, it simply goes through a final quality control area. The cast iron radiator is checked all over for marks or scratches and is oversprayed a final time before despatch.

As you may now appreciate, building a bespoke traditional Victorian period cast iron radiator is both time and labour intensive.

Pendragon also supply radiator wall brackets, fixings and radiator valves.

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Verona Cast Iron Radiators

June 16, 2012

The Verona cast iron radiator was originally manufactured in Massachusetts, USA by the ‘American Radiator Company’ around 1890. The design incorporates cherubs, dragons and lions.

Verona traditional period Victorian cast iron radiator

The Verona cast iron radiator is available in a range of painted colours or polished finishes.

Cast iron radiators became popular during the late Victorian period and were decorated with elaborate intricate designs, many with symbolism incorporated such as the Verona radiator. The design of the Verona is taken from French fashions of the day which were highly popular due to the Paris Exposition of 1889, using styles of art from Monet and Renoir incorporated into the foliate design.

Dragon detail on the Cheurub cast iron radiator

Cherub Victorian cast iron radiator showing dragon detail on foot

The radiator is adorned at the top with cherubs faces peering out from a scrolled foliate design which drapes down either side of the radiator leg. Rising from the foot are further foliate scrolls but this time with a dragon breathing fire. Emblazoned in the centre is a vine motif with a rampant line on its hind quarters.

Verona cast iron radiator detail

Cherub detail on Verona cast iron radiator

The symbols aren’t just added for pure decorative effect, they are there to serve a purpose. The dragons represent the evil in western mythology whereas the cherubs symbolise innocence and love. The lion is a symbol of power and wealth.

Verona cast iron radiator - lion detail

Verona Victorian cast iron radiator showing lion decoration on side

All of our radiators are built to bespoke sizes and colour finishes. A minimum of three sections are required up to a maximum of 20 sections. They can be built larger but it’s not recommended as the radiators are extremely heavy and take more than 6 people to lift into position.

www.pendragonradiators.co.uk

Bespoke Radiators

June 15, 2012

Pendragon Radiators are a UK company based in the heart of the country in Stourbridge, West Midlands. Their aim is to supply bespoke cast iron traditional period Victorian radiators, direct to your door, with a simple one stop solution by buying through their website saving both time and money.

The process couldn’t be simpler, whether looking to replace existing radiators, or starting from scratch, www.pendragonradiators.co.uk is simple to use, being informative about the radiators required to suit your needs.

The website has a simple BTU calculator to enter your room sizes, so you’ll know exactly what size radiator you require to heat the room. It’s then simply a matter of choosing the radiator design in the finish you like, be it painted, polished, highligthed, antiqued or just plain primer finish to paint yourself. You can choose a valve and wall stays to match and Pendragon will do the rest.

The cast iron radiators will be painted or polished and built to your specified bespoke requirements, pressure tested to meet British standards and delivered to your door on a day of your choosing.

Unlike other companies, we don’t have the radiators built in China and shipped over in preset sizes. The radiators are all built here in the UK at the Lincolnshire factory, enabling you to have radiators built to exact sizes required to heat your room. We can even arrange to have them painted in British Standard colours to match existing colour schemes, although a range of traditional popular colours are available off the shelf.

So if you are looking to buy bespoke Victorian cast iron radiators, give Pendragon Radiators a visit to see what they can do for you.

Cast Iron Radiators

June 15, 2012

History of Cast Iron Radiators

Cast iron radiators were introduced at the end of the Victorian era around 1890 and were hugely popular in France and America in particular, possibly due to the cordial trading relationship between the two countries at the time following the Paris Exposition of 1889. The British market was slightly slower to catch on but the radiators were mass-produced and installed in public buildings in great quantity at the turn of the 20th century.

Paris Exposition 1889

Paris Exposition 1889

Radiator Designs

The cast iron radiators were often elaborately decorated with floral designs, popular during the late Victorian and early Edwardian periods, in the Art Nouveau and later Art Deco style of the 1920s. The earliest French radiators were very typical of the flamboyant French artists at the time such as Monet and Renoir with beautiful elegant floral designs as on the Rococo and Verona radiators. These styles were mirrored in Massachusetts by the ‘American Radiator Company’  during the 1890s before tastes changed to simpler organic forms at the turn of the century.

Bespoke Victorian cast iron radiators

Bespoke traditional Victorian period cast iron radiators

The ‘Orleans’ radiator shows this off emphatically with its beautifully simple, organic flowing ribbon designs in the form of flower stems which wind their way up the radiator legs. However, not all radiators were so elaborate such as the model we call the Victorian, which is very simple in form with columns forming the structure of the radiator, which could easily be mass-produced to keep down costs. These were widely used throughout public buildings where functionality was more important than looks, but are hugely popular today as the simple design is very contemporary. There are more variations on the Victorian cast iron radiator than any other in our catalogue with a choice of 7 sizes available.

Originally, many of the radiators were designed for use with steam which later evolved to be used with water. The cast iron radiator construction is ideal as it enables them to withstand the high pressures involved.

Radiator Valves

All of the radiators can be fitted with modern radiator valves with thermostatic controls. However, there is a wide selection of beautiful brass, chrome and antique effect radiator valves available to enhance the look of the radiator.

Cast iron radiator valves

Radiator valves to fit Victorian cast iron radiators

Victorian cast iron radiators also require wall stays, also known as wall ties, to stop the radiator from tilting if leaned on or pulled. The wall stay doesn’t support any weight of the radiator, it just stops movement that could damage the pipe work. The radiator wall ties are fitted approximately 1 for every 10 sections of radiator.

Radiator wall stays

Wall stays or wall ties to fit cast iron radiators

When buying cast iron radiators, it’s important to choose the radiator that is the right heat output for the room. Cast iron radiators can be assembled to almost any length by simply adding more sections to each other to the size required. But be warned, when adding more than 20 sections together the radiators become incredibly heavy and can require 6 or more people to lift just 1 radiator. It is advisable to have 2 smaller radiators than one big one, as this will provide a more comfortable heat distribution around the room. The cast iron radiators will take longer to warm up than standard steel radiators, but take much longer to cool down giving superb comfort and heat distribution.

Traditional period radiators can be supplied in a variety of finishes such as painted, polished, antique, highlighted or base primer. The primer finish is ideal way of buying the radiators on a tight budget, as the radiators are purchased assembled and tested but can be sprayed or painted in any colour to suit you. Never fit polished or highlighted radiators in a wet area. This is due to the moisture in the air which would cause the cast iron to rust. Unfortunately cast iron radiators can’t be lacquered on to the bare surface, because if the lacquer is chipped, moisture will penetrate the cast iron under the lacquer and there is no way to stop it. If the bare cast iron gets rust spots, a light oil is applied with a soft cloth.

Cast iron radiators can enhance the look and feel of any room and are well worth considering when renovating  or just improving a property. With a choice of designs from highly decorative to contemporary or minimalistic, they look superb in any setting.

Cast iron radiators

Victorian cast iron radiators enhance any period property.

Pendragon Fireplaces

June 15, 2012

At Pendragon Fireplaces we have a beautiful array of traditional style cast iron fireplaces available to buy online at competitive prices. We supply a range of fires to cover Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian periods in various styles such as regency, gothic, Victorian, art nouveau and art deco. Our fireplaces have decorative designs influenced by many renowned designers of the day such as William Morris and William de Morgan.

All of the cast iron fireplaces we supply are complete with a cast iron back panel, so the fires arrive as a complete unit without the need to source extra parts. We can also supply an ash pan for solid fuel use or a gas insert, but of course they can simply be fitted for decorative use such as in bedrooms.

The bedroom cast iron fireplaces tend to be much smaller than the fires fitted in the main rooms in the home. The living and dining room fireplaces tended to be much larger and the designs reflected the decor of the day. The mid-Victorian gothic influences were very decorative  whereas by the end of the 1800s, fashions had changed and tiled fireplaces were popular with colourful decorative panels. By the Edwardian era, ‘Art Nouveau’ was all the rage, with feminine forms and stylised flower motifs adorning fireplaces across the fireplace frieze and down the legs in organic forms and flowing lines. Larger fireplace were made as separate pieces. The bedroom fireplaces tended to be cast as one piece as they were smaller, but the larger fireplaces needed to be made separately with a cast iron insert and surround that would fit over the top. The surrounds were difficult to cast in large sizes so other materials were used such as wooden surrounds, marble, slate or stone.

To go with your Victorian cast iron fireplace, you may also need a fireplace hearth. Traditionally these would have been made in slate or quarry tiled, but in today’s home, convenience comes first so we supply a range of polished granite hearths in black with a reflective finish. This gives a good solid clean look without the need for maintenance (apart from a little light dusting), unlike the Victorian slate which requires a regular rub with a slate oil to give a black sheen, otherwise the slate looks grey and dusty. We therefore supply a range of fireplace cleaning and maintenance products from ‘Hotspot‘ and ‘Calfire’ such as stove and grate paints and slate oil.

During the Georgian era, fire baskets were often used to burn wood. Towards the Victorian period, fireplaces had moved on and the fire grate became much smaller as people were burning coal. It wasn’t until the late Victorian era that gas fires started becoming popular as they were much cleaner than burning solid fuels. However in todays economic climate, gas prices have soared and so solid fuels are making a huge comeback with the revival of wood burning stoves.

Wood burning or multifuel stoves are a cheap way of heating the home as wood is a sustainable fuel, unlike gas and coals which will eventually run out. The beauty of the stove is that it can burn cleanly, giving off virtually no contaminants into the atmosphere. These are called ‘clean burn’ stoves which have been approved by ‘Defra’. Pendragon supply a range of enamel coloured Carron stoves in various sizes which are all ‘Defra approved’.

To complement your fireplace whether it is for decorative purposes or functional, Pendragon Fireplaces can supply a range of fireplace tools, known as companion sets. The fireside tools are available in a huge range of colours, sizes and styles with the brass finish being ever popular to contrast the matt black of the fireplace. You may then require a log basket for which we supply a broad range in our fireside accessories category.

We now have our Victorian cast iron fireplaces and Carron stoves available to buy online using our new improved Victorian cast iron fireplaces web shop.

Carron enamel stoves

June 12, 2012

Carron enamel stoves

Carron enamel stoves are now available to buy online through Pendragon Fireplaces. Carron cast iron stoves are available in a choice of enamel colours such as black, blue, white or cream, green, red and the standard matt black. Pendragon Fireplaces offer colour matched flue pipe to fit the stove range which includes the 4.7kW, 7.3kW and Dante models. Visit the website for further offers.

We now have our Victorian cast iron fireplaces and Carron stoves available to buy online using our new improved Victorian cast iron fireplaces web shop.

Ribbon cast iron radiator

June 12, 2012

Ribbon cast iron radiator

Ribbon cast iron radiators are available in bespoke sizes and finishes such as painted, antique, polished, highlighted or primer. Model Number JJC014 – JJC015

Victorian cast iron column radiators

June 12, 2012

Victorian cast iron radiator

Victorian cast iron radiators are available in bespoke sizes and finishes such as painted, antique, polished, highlighted or primer. Model Number LD060 – LD061

Princess cast iron radiator

June 12, 2012

Princess cast iron radiator

Princess cast iron radiators are available in bespoke sizes and finishes such as painted, antique, polished, highlighted or primer. Model Number LD070 – LD071

Duchess cast iron radiator

June 12, 2012

Duchess cast iron radiator

Duchess cast iron radiators are available in bespoke sizes and finishes such as painted, antique, polished, highlighted or primer. Model Number LD042 – LD043