Where did Towel Warmers come from?

A common fixture of homes in Europe and other countries around the world — the towel warmer or heated towel rack is a new concept in the USA. A towel warmer functions as a regular towel rack, but with added benefit of heating towels and keeping them nice and dry.

They come in two varieties: Hydronic or Electric. Electric units produce heat with an electrical heating element that either plugs into a wall outlet or is wired hardwired into the electrical grid in your home. Hydronic units connect to a hot water source (central heating or boiler) and use the heat to keep the rack warm.

Radiator_1

Classic Radiator connected to the hot water line

But where did this idea come from? In 1855 a Prussian-born Russian man named Franz San Galli invented the first radiator while living in St. Petersburg. These radiators, when filled with boiling water, helped warm homes by acting as ‘space heaters’. This system is the predecessor of the modern central heating system we know today.

Old-fashioned cast-iron finned radiator

Old-fashioned cast-iron finned radiator

It was not uncommon for people to use these radiators to warm and dry clothing and towels when air-drying would be ineffective, especially in the cold winter months. This helpful function cuts laundry costs while also keeping homes warm and dry. The radiator remains a flexible and efficient heating method to this day with a wide range of sizes, shapes, and added functions for use in any environment. Towel warmers are essentially radiators that can act as regular space heaters while providing extra hanging space for towels and drying clothing. Though they are quite common outside of the US, most people here have never heard of them! Northern states who endure brutally cold winters are finding comfort in the warm embrace of a heated towel when stepping out of the shower. Hotels are also using heated towel racks to help cut down on their laundry bills while giving guests the luxury of warm towel!

Have you ever seen a heated towel warmer on your travels? Let us know in the comments!

 

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