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The Tarm Popular Mechanics ad that started it all.

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by webbie, Apr 14, 2010.

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  1. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    This writeup in 1979 propelled the Tarm business in the US from almost nothing to 15 million dollar per year - which, in 1979, was a LOT more money than it is today!
    As an example, the OT 35 model shown on the picture sold for about $3200 at the time. A similar multi-fuel is about $10-12K today.

    Back then, before the internet, a story like this could virtually create a business.

    I did not buy the Tarm biz until about 1988, however we still regularly heard about this cover from retail customers - 10 years later!

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  2. sparke

    sparke Minister of Fire

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    UUhmmm.... No advertising in the forums please : )

    Back in the good ole days before the internet. Tarm sure has been a pioneer in the states for teaching us the ways of wood gasification. The first time I ever heard of the technology was from one of their annual sales flyers...
  3. shagy

    shagy New Member

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    It is nice to see where we came from. History is great as long as we learn from it. Thanks for the picture
  4. gorbull

    gorbull Member

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    Who came first with this technology, was it Tarm, Richard Hill with his Jetstream or is this technology invented by the Nazis during W.W.2 like most things?
  5. sparke

    sparke Minister of Fire

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    Definitely here in WW 2. I dont know if they were heating with the technology or just making syn gas to run vehicles. This is a good trivia question : Who invented wood gassification boilers. Time to consult wikipedia...
  6. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    "Gasification" of solid fuels to yield vapor-phase fuel is one thing, and was done well back in the 19th century to make lighting gas from coal (and gasification of wood to form vapor phase fuel was definitely done by various people in various locations in WWII); a "wood gasification boiler" is another.

    FWIW, I ran across and have a 1982 book "Solid Fuel Furnaces and Boilers" (Garden Way Publishing) that was being discarded by a friend who's a used book merchant; it mentions (at page 89):

    "Since the original high efficiency furnace and storage concept were developed by Professor Richard C. hill at the University of Maine, several manufacturers have started marketing models using the concept. Homeowners who have installed the system have been pleased with the results."
  7. tom in maine

    tom in maine Minister of Fire

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    Prof. Dick Hill patented the concept. (His original paper is on www.hotandcold.tv)
    Jetstream was Kerr Technologies' licensed version of Dick's patent.

    I have viewed Tarm, etc., as improved versions of Dick's original design.
  8. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    i like his bean bread recipe also. Very detailed. :)
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Right, Tarm was a more commercial version as it did not require storage - a "feature" which was discovered eventually not to be much of a feature.

    Most of this stuff was common knowledge long ago - that is, the higher temperatures causing cleaner combustion! It was more the residential revival which started with the first oil shock in the early 70's which brought about the products we see today.

    The Tarm pictured is not a high efficiency model, but rather a multi-fuel natural draft (on wood) unit. It did use a downdraft design (all tarms did) - although some people call it a cross draft - somewhat like an older riteway, etc.

    This was much better than plain updraft, but not nearly as good as forced draft ceramic based systems (as most are today).
  10. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    I still do an annual service on one of those old babes every year and have for the past 8-9. The current homeowner thinks it was installed in 1980 or 81. That sounds maybe 2 or 3 years early to me based on the vintage of the Carlin oil burner we replaced with a Riello a couple years ago. He no longer uses wood but everything is still intact and functional on that side of the unit. Just goes to show how investing in a good product is always the least expensive route when you consider life cycle costs.
  11. mikeyny

    mikeyny Feeling the Heat

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    I still use a tarm to heat my 3000 sf house here in NY. I pulled it out (GROAN!!!) of my nephews cellar in vermont 5 or 6 yrs ago. Mine is a 502 made in 82. It works great but needs a few things replaced. It took me a season or 2 to learn how to get the most out of it. My gas bill was over 600 bux before. I have now turned off the gas and rely on 10 cords of scavenged wood instead. Life is great.
    Mike
  12. tatespa

    tatespa New Member

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    I have a 502 as well... have you had to replace the grates in it yet?
  13. Stickler

    Stickler New Member

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    That boiler on the cover, installed in my cellar in 1978, still going strong in 2010. 2800 square foot, 3 bath house in a cold climate. Updated the oil burners a couple of times and the grates. Remarkable.
  14. tatespa

    tatespa New Member

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    How did you replace the grates in the back? Did you crawl inside the thing?
  15. Stickler

    Stickler New Member

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    If you are referring the OT, the grates are in 3 sections on the bottom of the firebox. Take out the first two by hand, drag the third one forward. Not sure about the 502.
  16. tatespa

    tatespa New Member

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    I think mine is different than yours.. Mine are all bolted into the shaker arm. Unless I can stretch my arms or something, it doesn't appear that I will be able to reach them....
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