The earliest Victorian stoves were made of cast iron, with a door into which a solid fuel, usually coal, could be fed.A low-level ash pit door enabled ash, stones and other residue to be removed.Smaller stoves could be moved and placed in position in one piece, requiring only the connection of a flue pipe leading outdoors.

Its aim is to provide a simple guide to help investigators of historic buildings recognise some of the types of early heating equipment which may still exist.

The investigation of historical heating equipment generally starts on site when the building itself is being altered, restored or demolished.

A major problem is often to understand what survives, assess its significance and make informed decisions about what to do next.

Options range from reuse, retention in situ, to removal to a safer site or, regrettably in some circumstances, to thoroughly record before destruction.

Investigators faced with this choice may include the owner or occupier, architects, builders, services consultants or contractors, and local government officers (especially conservation officers), none of whom may have the necessary specialist expertise.

One possible solution is to seek advice from a person or organisation knowledgeable in this field, where such a person can be found.

The other approach, often restricted by commercial and time constraints, is to search for all related documents and drawings.

Information may be available locally, regionally or at national level, in libraries, record offices or specialist websites.

The following sources may assist in identifying the age, type, manufacturer and importance of various heating equipment: The number of firms engaged in the manufacture and installation of heating equipment and accessories during the Victorian and Edwardian periods was considerable.

The number of models or patterns of a particular item, for example radiators, often runs into many hundreds.

The most basic type of heating (other than open fires) is the stove.