Water Heater Rescue: Know-How, Troubleshooting, Anodes graphic

The Weingarten Collection: A Museum of Interesting Designs From the Past

The best design always wins out. Right? Or is it merely the cheapest? Indeed, both cases can be true, as we're ready to prove here.

Some of the Weingarten Collection of antique water heaters sit together

Today's water heaters are clearly superior to some of the earlier designs. But all? You can decide for yourself.

We've delved into the history of water heating -- and found some surprises, which we'd like to share with you. Take a look at the photo at right. These are heaters that water heater service pioneer Larry Weingarten gathered from as far away as England.

Some of them bear some resemblance to your current water heater. But the rest? Well, either R2D2's companions are on the loose or there are pages to the history of water heating that you never guessed existed. Time to read up! For years, the collection resided in Larry Weingarten's basement but it's now hosted by the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen

in New York.

These links will take you to individual pages for many of the heaters grouped at right.

One more thing: if you have a heater like this, you might be wondering, "What's my "antique" worth?" We don't know! The only answer is to put it on eBay and see what someone will bid for it. Don't be surprised if there is no market for antique water heaters.

They aren't quite in the same league as Chippendales. Many of the Weingarten heaters have been extensively restored, and in some cases, parts have even been fabricated. Some largely resembled junk when they were found. And they were heavy junk, at that. That makes them expensive to ship anywhere.