History of RUUD Water Heaters

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Who was Erwin Ruud

Edwin Ruud born June 9th 1854 – 9 December 1932 was a Norwegian-American mechanical engineer and inventor who immigrated to the United States where he designed, sold, and popularized the tankless-water heater. He was the founder and President of Ruud Manufacturing Company.

 

The Fuel Gas And Manufacturing Company

In the 1880s, Ruud began working for George Westinghouse at the Fuel Gas and Manufacturing Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Eight years after filing his first US patent, Ruud filed the first of five patents he would assign to Westinghouse's Fuel Gas and Manufacturing company.

 

In 1889, Ruud engineered a design for an automatic storage tank-type gas water heater that used a bottom gas heater and temperature controlled gas-valve. He later patented the design in 1890. In October 1890, he expanded on his first water heater design, under the Fuel Gas and Manufacturing Company.

 

Ruud Manufacturing Company

On January 22, 1897, Ruud filed a patent separate from the Fuel Gas and Manufacturing Company for an Automatic Water Heater. His new design consisted of a cast iron shell, enclosing burners, heating surfaces (a coil of copper tubing through which water flows), and thermostat controlling gas-valve. The object of the design improvement was, "to maintain the supply of water at the desired temperature at all times."

 

With this new design, Ruud left the Fuel Gas and Manufacturing Company to start Ruud Manufacturing, his own engineering and manufacturing shop where he began to manufacture and popularize in home, as well as commercial and industrial water heaters. Ruud was issued his patent for the coiled tube Automatic Water Heater on September 6, 1898.

 

A 1915 diagram showing the innards of a Ruud instantaneous water heater.

Ruud's business expanded as he popularized and improved on his instant water heater design. In 1908, Ruud Manufacturing acquired two local heating and plumbing firms. James Hay of the James Hay Company, heating and plumbing engineers, closed his business in order to operate as president of the Ruud Manufacturing Company in 1908 and J.H. Folsom of Folsom-Webster Co., heating and plumbing contracting firm, dissolved his partnership in Folsom-Webster Company in 1908 to serve as chief of the Cincinnati branch of the Ruud Manufacturing Company. By 1915, the Ruud Manufacturing Company had offices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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