Looking Backward: Institute for Thermal Research

by / Apr. 8, 2015 12am EST

“Buffalo manufactures more heating apparatus than any other city in the world. Here are located three large plants of the American Radiator Company, and also their Institute for Thermal Research.” – The Journal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, June 1915

The Institute for Thermal Research, 1807 Elmwood Avenue, was constructed for the American Radiator Co. in 1910, with an expansion in 1924. At the time this photograph was taken in 1925, the company claimed the Institute for Thermal Research was the only facility in America devoted to “the problems of better warmth.”

The building contained administrative offices, a lecture hall, and laboratories filled with thermometers, humidostats, flue-draft gauges, water meters, fuel consumption recorders, and other instruments used to measure the performance of radiators and boilers. It is one of Buffalo’s finest extant factory administration buildings, designed by Schmidt, Garden & Martin with later additions by Bley & Lyman in the “Gardenesque” style, which melds classical massing and Prairie-style minimalist detailing.

The factory complex, including the Institute for Thermal Research, was shuttered in 1959. Developer Rocco Termini is currently restoring the 47,600-square-foot building, which will soon be reborn as the Arco Lofts, with 38 residential units and commercial space.