Yes, you can have radiators and radiant heat. If you stop and think about it radiant heat is just a hidden radiator. Tile floors can be very cold and it was common for the wealthy to put comfort above cost.
Is it possible that the terra cotta tubes could be conductors for radiant heat?
The third plumber is on his way now and the city head plumbing inspector is coming at 2:30.
Yes it is possible. As you get more and more involved with the historic society you will find that at the time this house was built Cincinnati was awash with innovation, invention, and firsts. It is even quite possible that you have a one of a kind system.
While the bathrooms may be original, the blue fixtures certainly aren't.
Are you talking about the Werk Mansion? Here's a couple of interesting articles you may enjoy- http://www.building-cincinnati.com/2008/11/werk-mansion-being-stripped-for-cash.html and this may be of interest http://members.surfbest.net/jrdhomepage/Charles%20Soete.htm if some of the artwork still remains there my be preservation funds available to help in the restoration. I believe that in 2003 or 2004 the Werk Mansion was included in a home and garden or historical tour so pictures may be available at the library. You may also want to check Cincinnati atlases. My guess is you will find a section on the Werk family at the library.
Hi Jack and Ed,
Jack, you are a detective genius! Yes, we did purchase the Werk Mansion. How did you know? Do you think we're completely nuts? I have not been able to find too much on the internet about the house or about Casimir Werk. However, a lecture entitled "Great Cincinnati Families" featuring the Oskamp and Werk families is being presented on July 11th, by the historical society. I am planning to attend. Thanks for the articles; I did find a little bit about the house, but not much. The next time I come down to Cincinnati, I'll start researching in earnest, starting with the building permits over the past 30 years, etc.
My brother said the terracotta pipes are running parallel and seem to him like a clay conduit. They must be there for a reason. You might be onto something; it is sounding more possible that they could be radiant heat conductors. When Ryan described them, he made it sound like one continuous row of clay tubes, but John said there is row after row of them, lying side by side.
The plumber who was just there suggested to Ryan that we might want to install a whole new plumbing system, from the basement up to both bathrooms. Gulp! Before we take that plunge, I want to see what plumbing permits and work have been done previously.
Ed, it may be that we will completely redo the dizzying bathroom with the blue fixtures. The pink, yellow and black bathroom is not quite as awful. If we do have to do an entirely new plumbing system, we will probably have a lot of demolition - thus we might end up needing a whole new bathroom (or two). We were hoping to avoid that, but if it must be, we can't help it. For now, I think the next step will be to examine the previous building permits that have been pulled on the house. It does have some new copper piping that the first plumber found in the closet.
I'll post pictures as soon as I can.
Well I only live about 50 miles from Cinci so it's almost local news.
Thanks for the link to the two articles. I had seen the article by Kevin Lemaster, but I had not seen the one on Uncle Charlie. He sounded like a very dear man and a wonderful craftsman. I will add it to my tiny file on the Werk Mansion.
I don't know if you ever saw this article, but it's rather astonishing. I wonder how someone so successful could have done something so idiotic? (Sorry, that is a harsh word, but it's the nicest word of the obvious choices that comes to mind, after reading this article.) I wonder if Mrs. Werk said, "I told you so," over and over and over again?
We have contacted the Cincinnati Preservation Association about the plumbing / ceiling situation. The lady I spoke with had also never heard of a ceiling constructed like ours, but she said she will make some calls and see if anyone she knows has come across a situation like this. She said she has an idea about the source of the leak, but she didn't elaborate; I guess she might be checking with her sources, first.
On a different subject, do you know of anyone in the Cincinnati area who is reliable to sand and refinish hardwood floors?
Sorry, most of the trades people I know are like me, retired. I always do my own floors. If they are in fair shape renting a random orbital floor sander is easy enough for just about any DIYer, less work and less likely to cause digs in the floor. I prefer "OldMasters" brand oil based poly for floors, it is and excellent finish, hard, durable, and excellent at self leveling when being applied.
By the way here's another article you might find of interest http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/article-17927-cincinnatis-queen-of-soul.html
be sure to read the comment at the bottom.