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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 399 (375)

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition
1945 Theatre Catalog
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 399
Page 399

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 399

. Radiant Heating Becomes Modern Theatres

Raising the Temperature of the Cold Walls Proposed as Alternate to Heating the Air

There are two prime responsibilities that a theatre manager or owner has toward his patrons. One is providing the best possible entertainment for their enjoyment. The other is designing and furnishing his theatre for their maximum comfort.

It is this latter responsibility which has prompted architects, engineers, and specihcation writers on projects involving the construction of new theatres or the renovation of existing ones to incorporate the most modern designs in their plans.

Ever-increasing attention has been focused recently by these designers on the use of floor-type radiant heating for theatres. Radiant heating, a method of providing indoor comfort during cold weather, has entered into the spotlight only during the past decade, although the principle involved has been known for nearly 2,000 years.


The theory of radiant heating was applied nearly 2,000 years ago by the R0mans who circulated hot gases from charcoal Iires through built-in ducts to keep walls and floors warm. Not much is known, however, about the progress of radiant heating until about 40 years ago when an English inventor, A. H. Barker, noticed that one of the rooms of his home was much more comfortable than the others during the winter time, although the air temperature in that room was the same is in other rooms.

He found the reason for this was that the walls of the more comfortable room were heated by concealed furnace fiues. He then installed hot water pipes in the walls of the other rooms and was successful in obtaining similar comfortable results. From then on, radiant heating was developed steadily in England and parts of the continent.

In America, too, there was a growing interest in this unique method of heating. In 1909, a small school near Gary, Indiana, was built with steam pipes for radiant heat suspended between the floor joists over which a conventional wood door was laid. In 1928, wrought iron pipe was installed in the concrete door of Sacred Heart Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to provide radiant heat. The system still is operating successfully.

It has been estimated that nearly 2,000 radiant heating systems haVe been installed in the United States in many types of buildings-schools, churches, airplane hangars, garages, oliices, homes. Now the theatre industry, looking forward to the inclusion of the latest and most modern designs in postwar showhouses, turns to radiant heating as a solution of heating problems.



First American theatre known to have installed a radiant heating system is located in Jewell Valley, Buchanan County, Virginia. Management of this 350-seat theatre reported that the radiant heating system worked very satisfactorily during the first heating season it was used, 19441945. That season, incidentally, was one of the most severe for that part of Virginia.

Based upon the scientific fact that the normal human body generates more than enough heat to provide comfort for itself, but loses this heat to surrounding colder surfaces, radiant heatingis purpose is to warm these colder surfaces by means of coils or grids of heating pipe embedded in Hoors, ceilings, or walls.

Scientists have found that the human body, while generating more than enough heat to provide comfort for itself, loses this heat in a number of ways, most important of which are convection, radiation and evaporation. Loss by convection is described as being that heat which is carried away from the body by the passage of air over the surfaces of the skin and clothing. Radiation loss is that heat given off or abstracted by colder objects around the body. Evaporation loss represents the heat necessary to transform surface moisture on the body

into vapor.


There are two ways to avoid cold: by raising the air temperature to a sufficiently high degree (the conventional method) or by raising the temperature of the cold surfaces surrounding the body (radiant heating).

The only difference between radiant heating and conventional hot water heating systems is that comfort conditions in radiantly heated areas are controlled by large, low-temperature surfaces, while conventional systems are small, high-temperature surfaces, such as radiators. In a radiant heating system, the same type of boiler and controls may be used as are used for any ordinary hot-water heating plant.


As to the design of a radiant heating system, selection of materials and operating equipment, these vary with the architectural design of the building and are left largely to the judgment of those planning the construction.

The first step in designing a theatre radiant-heating installation is calculation of the rate of heat 1055 from an auditorium in much the same manner em ONE OF THE FIRST STEPS during the installation of a radiant-heating system is spreading the fill, as workmen are shown doing in this photograph. Several different types of fills may be used, but on the iob shown in the picture, crushed rock was utilized. Wrought iron pipes for the radiant-heating system are laid on the fill and are then completely covared with a concrete slab to form the floor of a room free from visible heating fixtures.
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 399