We all greatly value the heating systems within our homes, but have you ever thought about who invented the modern radiators that we have all become so accustomed to?

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The Man Behind Modern Central Heating Systems

Franz Friedrich Wilhelm San-Galli was a German entrepreneur who was born in 1824 in Stettin in Prussian Pomerania, which is now Szczecin in Poland. His fortune was built on the manufacturing of equipment for heating, water supply and sewage systems. As well as owning several prominent buildings in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Franz San-Galli is also credited for inventing the modern radiator.

He arrived in St. Petersburg in 1843, and within a decade he had founded his own manufacturing business. By 1857 he had successfully patented his radiator, which evolved into one of the most prominent contributions to the modern central heating systems we are so familiar with today. In 1863, San-Galli’s business fitted heating systems to the Alexandrinsky Theatre and the Imperial Academy of the Arts.

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A Few of San-Galli’s Other Major Contributions to Society

San-Galli’s business also manufactured decorative wrought iron and heavily contributed to the successful installation of gas lighting on St. Petersburg’s streets. When the Staro Tsarskoselskiy Palace sustained damage in a fire, he restored the church’s dome and installed an innovative fire safety system which he had patented a few years previously.

He was also responsible for fitting an engineering system into the Alexandrovskaya Hospital and installing Russia’s then largest central heating system into the Rauchfuss Children’s Hospital.

So the next time you are browsing for classic column radiators, like the ones that can be found at
http://apolloradiators.co.uk/Products/View/3/54/7/category/roma/Apollo-roma-bespoke-steel-column-radiator, you know who deserves much of the credit. After all, as this article in the Independent explains, radiators have become design features in their own right within so many of our homes.

San-Galli’s Later Life

In 1870, Karl Rachau built a magnificent mansion for the San-Galli family. At the same time, Rachau was also commissioned to construct an apartment building to provide housing for San-Galli’s employees. Ten years later, another apartment block was built, and it wasn’t long before 22 more buildings were built around San-Galli’s factory, providing additional housing and schooling for his employees.

Franz San-Galli died in 1908 aged 84, has made some major contributions that would quickly become integral to the lives of millions.


Published by Sunil Pandey