I just found......

tjt78April 12, 2011

I am cleaning out the pantry in the basement that is filled with junk we don't need. Tucked away in a far corner I just found boxes of brand new plastic tiles.

One small box of "Malibu Peach" sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co.

One small box of "Mint Green" by Homart

One big box of yellow, white and these longer, dark green ones. They are from Lino Trim Mouldings (original shipping box) and someone wrote on it "Yellow Tile 1936"

Also a box of "No. 400 Humphrey Self-Firing Glaze Radiant" somethings. I have this old, thing that looks like a gas fireplace radiator thingy sitting down there and I don't know what it is. I think these things go with it.

Anyway....is any of this stuff worth anything? I'm not sure what to do with it all.

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I have seen people on here begging for old tiles, so I think those would be a good deal.
The "glaze radiant" somethings--are they ceramic, rectangular things with openings in front? If so, I'd say they go with the gas fireplace insert--they are the pieces which actually heat up and glow a nice cherry red and put out the heat. Could you take a pic, or some measurements of the insert?
Supposedly they don't pass code for gas heaters now, but if they aren't hooked up, they would be great for a period fireplace! Wish I had it--had to disconnect mine and remove it before the gas would be turned on after the city did some work. Had I been more savvy, I'd have said it was disconnected.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 12:36PM
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Here is the fireplace thing.

So, was it in the fireplace? We do have a gas fireplace, which I had just assumed had been converted from wood at some point. But do you think it was always gas? Did this just sit in the fireplace and get hot? How do they work?

Yes...I figured it out...the things in the box are the ceramic things on the front.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 10:42PM
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I can't tell you about the plastic tiles--don't throw them away, people want them.

But the Humphrey Radiant Tiles are for the Humphrey RadiantFire Fireplace Insert. The tiles are worth quite a bit (at least $10 each) and although that's a pretty plain insert (some mimic victorian fireplaces like mine), I'd guess you could get $100 for it. They come up pretty regularly on ebay.

All in all, it was probably worth your time to go work in the basement!

You could check to see if you have a black (gas) pipe running in your basement to your fireplace--it's most likely it came from your fireplace. Or perhaps that was someone's honey-do stash. :)

It's possible that it could be approved for use (or converted)--you could have your gas company or someone look at it.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 7:38PM
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I'd say this was used in your fireplace--gas heaters were all the thing at the turn of the century. The one in my fireplace was put in around 1930 I'd guess from it's style. It likely replaced an earlier gas insert. From what I can figure out, in cities coal or gas were the main fuels in fireplaces, wood was harder to get unlike rural areas.

Despite being built in 1908, my house was fitted with gas/electric lighting, and gas outlets for heaters in every room since electricity was not yet reliable. At some point, a coal furnace was installed, but I don't know when--the gas replacement was put in in 1958--and I used it until 2003.

kterlep, I wish I'd known such an old insert could be adapted to meet code--but then, tjt's is nicer looking than mine was. :)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 5:49AM
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Great finds!
All we found in our basement was a box of linoleum floor tiles with asbestos in them. At least we knew what the tiles in the former upstairs kitchen were made out of.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 9:22PM
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columbusguy, I think anything can be done if you have enough $$$. :)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 11:13PM
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kterlep, so very true! That's why magazines like OHJ and shows like TOH piss me off so much--they once had real advice for people doing the work themselves--now all they are is ads for expensive tools and companies who only people with VERY deep pockets can afford.
Alas, my budget is very limited, so I do what I can with salvage stores and my own labor.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 7:26AM
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So did these things just sit in fireplaces or were they used outside of fireplaces?

I'm in a very small town, but I do know my neighbor (whose house is older than mine) still has coal in her basement.

I wonder if this was used in this house or if they just brought it with them when they built the house. The house was built in 1940. Were people still buying them at that point?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 10:19AM
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now all they are is ads for expensive tools and companies who only people with VERY deep pockets can afford.

Look at who advertises in them, and you'll see why. As the song says, the guy who pays the piper calls the tune.

The same thing happened to Home Power magazine. Once it was an outstanding resource for making your own energy. Today it mostly has articles on rich folks' solar mansions with $100k systems, and how to choose your own megabucks PV installer. Faugh.

The good news is that the info you need for doing your own work in both old houses and PV is right here, on GW and on the web in general.

And that's another interesting discussion, though I'm not quite ready to officially broach the subject here - the challenges of integrating modern renewable energy resources with old houses.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 12:56AM
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tjt, learning that your house was built in 1940 changes things a bit--I think this heater dates to the '10s or a bit earlier. Measure the width and depth of the heater, and the same for your fireplace--if the numbers fit, they could have brought it to use there. Whether it was used outside of a fireplace, I can't say, having seen them only IN fireplaces--but I'd wager ones which were meant to sit free were shaped more like parlor stoves (round or square, a couple feet tall--like a small kerosene heater).

Some neighbors when I was younger had a huge cubic stove sitting in front of their fireplace--the flue was a pipe which went into the firebox opening. I think that might have been wood, but I don't remember seeing any open flames, so maybe coal.

And, people were still buying them I'm sure, though a bit more deco in style like mine was. Even today, people buy the same thing but they are called gas inserts now, and are built to make a tight seal inside the fireplace. :)

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 4:43AM
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you could do something neat with that...maybe put some christmas lights behind the tiles and stick it in your fireplace.

It could be a (late 30's) model--it's got that streamlined deco thing going on--I'm looking especially at the top of the "firebox"--it looks like a 1930's theater might.

The really early Humphrey fireplace inserts look like victorian...coal fireplaces...some have "firescreens" and andirons and everything. Craziness. So ornate, with a dozen of those flame tiles.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 2:30PM
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Could we see a pic of the boxes of tiles? Bet someone on eBay would love to have these...

Out of curiosity I googled '"Malibu Peach" sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co.' and came up with this interesting link.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 2:12PM
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Plastic Tiles-

These were popular in about the late 40's early 50's as I recall since I was there. My mother had some installed in the kitchen and bathroom. In 1989 I had to replace some to sell the house. Maybe about 9. I found one shop in all of Minneapolis/St Paul that had any at all and they were not the correct color. Got em anyway and glad to do it.

Next they had to be glued into place. Takes a special cement. Special. I found one person that had some. He came out and glued my tiles in and he worked hard to scrape enough goop out of the bottom of his 5 gallon pail to get the job done. When he was thru he said that was the last of that goop. Period. Didn't know anyone that even might have some. Didn't know where more might be gotten. There was no internet as we know it at that time.

So I hope that helps you figure what can be done with and/or what to do with those tiles.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 11:32AM
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We just bought a home that was built in the 1930's. the living room has a similar gas fireplace but it doesn't have any name on it. Can anyone tell us anything on it. The gas line is still in place but the fireplace doesn't have a burner

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 11:22PM
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