The History of Electric Heating

Even though it seems like heaters have been around forever, this is not the case. In fact, just about 100 years ago only a select few households had central heating systems in their homes. However, the history of the electric heating element goes even further back.
Alexander Graham Bell invented the first electric heater in the late 1800s. He created a metal box with high-powered light bulbs inside that radiated heat into the room. Needless to say, this heater was dangerous and inefficient at filling a room with heat.
It wasn’t until 1905 that the evolution of heaters started to pick up. Albert Marsh invented the chromel heating element, which was much more efficient and creating and dispersing heat than a light bulb. Because of his invention, Albert Marsh is known as the father of modern electric heating. From the invention of the first heating element, electric heating took off and soon began to overtake fuel-based heat sources. In just 30 years, many new homes and businesses had central heating systems based on the original design of Albert Marsh.
The modern infrared heating element still uses the basic principle of Albert Marsh’s original design. However, modern materials, such as ceramic and NiChrome, have a much higher efficiency rating, a longer element life, and are much safer than the designs from 1905.
Today, it is possible to use several different forms of electric heaters for a wide variety of uses. Electric heaters are used in central air heating systems, supplemental indoor heat, outdoor heating, stoves and toaster ovens, manufacturing and product production, automobiles, and in thousands of other places across the globe. If Albert Marsh were still alive today, he would be surprised and humbled at how his invention has affected nearly every part of the modern lifestyle.