A friend found this foot warmer in a garage where the 'kids' thought it was junk. He rescued it, and I am know the proud owner of it and four lumps of coal. Three questions: 1 What style of drawer handle is 'period' correct? Any suggestions on finding a suitable 'old fashioned' carpet? and, Was the unit painted? and, oops # 4 what colour if it was?
You might want to find one in better condition.
Those heaters are pretty common here in Minnesota and they aren't worth much.
I see them in antique shops, at swap meets and estate sales. My father has had a few over the years.
They are usually in very good condition, some never having been used.
If you are going to cover it in carpet, jute backed wool carpet would probably be most appropriate. Gray, green, black or brown.
No paint - every one that I have seen is plated - nickel or possibly tin.
They are wonderful to look at especially with the carpet cover. Someday I will get around to using one. In the meantime we carry a gallon container and stop to up warm antifreeze in it occasionally. We replenish the radiator with one that has cooled off.
There was one in an old VW bus we bought in the 60's. Used it a couple of times though not very effective. Can't remember what ever happened to it.
I have two in nice condition. I got one out a couple weeks ago to try it. Used kingsford charcoal. 4 pieces burned for a couple hours and put off good heat on a 70 degree day but it seemed it put off quite alot of smoke. May be alright in our runabout pickup but I cant imagine using one in a closed car. It would definatly keep ones feet warm.
Make sure the cover is in good condition, they are made of asbestos and if they are degrading they flake off a lot of dust.
I have seen several listed on eBay for around $40. Appear to be restored. The poster is from Lisle, IL if that helps. I have 2 that I only use for display. I have hot water heater / defroster using old Ford truck firewall mounted heater. Hides completely and has self contained vent doors to slow heat into passenger compartment. 6bcc and only needed to run water lines.
I'm not concerned with cost, as I'm going to fix it up for display. These youngsters need to know how thing were! I'll be having a long winter, so have time to tinker . .
The two that I have are polished brass on the exposed ends and drawer front. A thin layer/sheet of what I assume is asbestos (I didn't disturb or test it) is then wrapped around the heater under the carpeting.
They originally burned "bricks" made of compressed coal dust. Charcoal is wood; that would get smokey.
There are period advertisements showing this type of heater being used in closed cars, which really seems odd.
Are the coal dust bricks still available?
The bricks are no longer made (to the best of my knowledge) but once in a while some old stock comes up on ebay.