The First Automatic Tankless Water Heaters

Before the invention of the water heater, hot water was time-consuming luxury. Anyone wanting a hot bath had to heat the water in small batches over an open fire or a stove and transfer them one bucket at a time to a bathtub.
First Instantaneous Water Heater
In 1868, a British decorative painter named Benjamin Waddy Maughan patented the first instantaneous water heater for household use.
Maughan's Geyser
Called the "gas geyser" Maughan's invention employed natural gas to heat the water as it flowed into the bathtub. The guyser didn't have a flue for venting gas vapors, so it was dangerous to use.
First Automatic Storage Water Heater
Maughan's design inspired mechanical
engineer Edwin Ruud, a Norwegian
immigrant to the United States, who
patented his automatic storage water
heater in 1889.
Ruud's Invention
Ruud's water heater was a gas-heated,
cast iron appliance with a copper heat
exchanger. When the bather opened a
water faucet, an actuator valve turned
on the heater's burners.
Ruud's Success
In 1897, Rudd opened a company in '
Pittsburg, Pennsylvania devoted
to making domestic and
commercial water heaters.
The Ruud Manufacturing Company
became an industry leader in water
heating products and is the oldest 
American water heater company.


Water heaters have become a ubiquitous part of the modern housing in the industrialized world. However, prior to the industrialization, water heaters were a luxury. Electric water heaters became available during the Industrial Revolution.



Who invented the first electric water heater was non other than Norwegian-American engineer Edwin Ruud in 1889.


Storage Tank Water Heaters

The storage tank heater, still the most common type of water heater still in use in the united states, heats a supply of water and stores it for later use. Newspaper advertisements in 1945 suggest that an "automatic gas or electric water heater" could help keep a constant flow of hot water to the home.


Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters, are commonly used in Europe and much of Asia, they use a series of tubes running through electric elements to heat only the amount of water needed for a particular purpose. the first electric tankless water heater was invented by Stiebel-Eltron in 1929.


Dating from about 1895, this royal British water heater is gas fired. It was installed in the bathroom next to the bathtub. Shower were virtually non-existen. To Operate, you light the pilot, turn on the water, thenturn on it's gas valve.

Be Careful

Temperture is adjusted by putting in the right amount of cold water. When shutting the water heater off you had to be very careful not to shut off the water before turning off the gas. If you did forget, the heater would quickly be ruined, probably melted down!


Shepherd's Crook

The heater works by mixing hot gases and water, which although very efficient, wasn't particularly clean. British heaters had an interesting safety devise built in that you can see on the side of it. The "shepherd's crook" actually makes an air gap in the water supply. This prevents any tainted water from the heater from possibly getting back into the water supply, (a rather modern concept). The slightly tainted hot water was to be used only for bathing. This heater burns roughly 100,000 BTU per hour.


by Sharon J. Rehana



In 1889, George Eastman began selling his Kodak flexible roll film for the first time; the World’s Fair opened in Paris with the completed Eiffel Tower; Daniel Stover and William Hance patented a bicycle with the back-pedal brake; and Edwin Rudd, a Norwegian mechanical engineer and inventor who immigrated to the U.S., was awarded a patent for his design of a tankless water heater.  It had a cast iron body with a copper heat exchanger, and his patent was on a gas actuator valve, which turned on the burner when a water faucet was opened.  


Things have changed since then.  Today, tankless water heaters are used throughout most of the world, and have gained significant popularity in North America.  They last longer than tanked heaters, provide hot water when and for as long as it’s needed, and will save consumers money each month because they reduce the amount of energy used.   

Get a free quote




Antelope   I   Arden Arcade  I  Carmichael  I  Citrus Hights   I  Davis  I  Elk Grove   I  Fair Oaks   Florin  I  Folsom   I  Granite Bay  I  Gold River  I  Loomis  I  Rancho Cordova Rancho Murieta  I  Natomas  I  North Highlands  I  Orangevale  I  Rio Linda  I  Rocklin  Rosemont   I   Roseville  I  Sacramento County  I  City of Sacramento  I   West Sacramento



Gas  I   Electric   I   Tankless   I   Heat-Pump    I   Commercial   I   Service & Repair 

 Permits Fees  I   Upgrades



Monday through Friday:  7AM to 7PM

Saturday: 8AM to 2PM

Sunday: Closed






Water Heater Pros is a partner company

of Water Heater Experts Corporation

Ca. Lic# 724577     


  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Google+ Social Icon

885 Reviews


Click to View


 Copy Right 2012 - 2019 Water Heater Experts a California Corporation    All Rights Reserved   Corporate Office 9341 Fair Oaks Blvd, Fair Oaks CA  95628