articles and news
27 Mar 2015
Vintage American radiators – the story of a journey
go back
by paula

Our team at Classic Comfort hasn’t been wasting time. Lately, we have kept ourselves busy travelling to the United States and “adopting” some old radiators, in order to have them reconditioned so that they will make the perfect accessory for your home!

traditional motifs interior design with vintage cast iron radiator

We collected around 100 wonderful pieces of antique cast iron radiators from an abandoned factory close to Chicago. The factory, which used to be known as The Barber-Colman Company, is an-hour-long drive from Chicago, situated in the city of Rockford, Illinois. It was famous for distributing textile and milling machineries, from its founding, in 1894 until the 1980s. Over the years Barber-Colman extended its branches to Boston and later on, even the United Kingdom, and the facilities the company could provide at the time satisfied a wide range of requests and needs in textile industry. Unfortunately, the death of its founders also led to selling and reselling the enterprise up to the point where it had been vacated. The City of Rockford currently owns the property and in 2008 it was recognized by the National Park Service with a listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The radiators we collected carry the inscription “Kawanee”, which is the city in Illinois where the radiators have been cast and also the Winnebago word for prairie chicken, a species assigned to that particular place.

We’ve had nothing but fun since collecting the classic radiators – bringing life back to these wonderful pieces has been a delightful project, and knowing that these vintage cast iron radiators will one day make the centerpiece of somebody’s interior has been further more motivating. Since the restoration, these items are now known as Pierce Two Column radiators and you can find them on our website.

Places like this abandoned factory have made the subject of our interest ever since the founding of Classic Comfort. It is a pity that such splendid pieces of design can go to waste, which is exactly why we struggle to find as many as we can and give them their old purpose back. Not only do cast iron radiators make an elegant accessory in any home, but the Pierce Two Column radiator models are also functional items, made out of solid materials with reliable technology that can be rarely found nowadays. Most certainly, if you find a place for a vintage cast iron radiator into your home, you will be delighted with the accent of style and luxury it will add to your interior design and you will be strongly satisfied with the efficiency of an antique, resistant product, guaranteed for a lifetime.