Research Residence No. 1

Research Residence No.1 was commissioned, designed, and built in 1924 by a collaboration between the University of Illinois and the National Warm Air Heating and Ventilation Association (NWAHVA). It was located at 1108 W. Stoughton St, Urbana, IL. 
Research Residence No. 1, during construction, 1924
The main goal was to create a space that could be used for research in forced air heating for private residences. The dedication of Research Residence No. 1 by Professor J.M White in December, 1924, was attended by professors, heating professionals, journalists, and locals.

Dedication of Research Residence No. 1. 
The team at Research Residence No. 1, led by A. P. Kratz, Vincent S. Day, and Arthur Cutts Willard, conducted several tests of various types of forced air heating systems. Each system would be installed, tested vigorously, and ultimately replaced in favor of a modified, or, in some cases, completely new, design.
Example of heater installed in basement of Research Residence No. 1, 1924
These tests also included materials testing (which was a better metal for pipe insulation? Copper or aluminium?), effects of a steam-heating boiler verses a hot-water heater, and the effects of drops and rises in barometric pressure. In order to accurately measure the effect of these experiments, the team installed sensors in every room, often at multiple levels. In a discussion of recent results from the Research Residence, Arthur Cutts Willard bragged that “very few makers of steam and hot-water heating equipment possess such complete data as represented by these results”.
Vincent S. Day checking room sensors, 1924
The previous quote sums up, quintessentially, what made Research Residence No. 1 such a renown success, to the extent that three more Research Residences were commissioned and built over the next three decades. Homeowners would come from miles around to look at the heating systems installed in the Research Residence in order to learn how to choose and install such systems in their homes. The home was even featured during a local “Better Homes Week”, a part of the Better Homes Movement. The Better Homes Movement was a post World War I nationwide campaign emphasizing home ownership, modernization, and beautification. 
Cars outside Research Residence No. 1 during “Better Homes Week”, 1925


Works Cited:

Research Residence Reports and Photos, courtesy of Vincent S. Day Papers, 1918-1927. Series No. 11/8/23, Box 1- 2. Found in University Archives March 6th, 2013.

Special Thanks to Susan Frankenberg for the story about her grandfather.

“Publication [Nos. 11-12]/ issued by Better Homes in America.”(2013). American Memory. Retrieved on March 6th, 2013 from

We Know That Research Residence No. 1 Was on Stoughton in Urbana. Do You Remember It?