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Antique Heat Registers

Terry Hurley
View a great slideshow of antique cast iron stoves.
View a great slideshow of antique cast iron stoves.

From antique architectural salvage yards to online auctions, antique heat registers are highly sought after for their beautiful metalwork and period designs.

What Are Heat Registers?

Placed in the floor or on the wall, a heat register allows, or stops, the flow of hot air carried through the duct work from the furnace to enter a room. The air flow control is called a louver or a damper. If the louver is in the open position, the warm air is permitted to flow through. If the louver is in the closed position, the air is stopped from entering the room. Although most antique and vintage heat registers were made with a louver, there were also many made without the air flow control.

Heat registers are known by many different names including:

  • Heat register grate
  • Heat register grill
  • Floor register
  • Heat grate
  • Heat grille
  • Floor register vent

Heat Register Grate Styles

From the exquisite scroll work and fleur de lis designs found in beautiful old Victorian homes to the geometric patterns and shapes of bungalow homes of the Arts and Crafts movement, antique heat grates were made in a number of styles and designs. Most antique register grates are made of cast iron, brass or bronze. The styles include:

  • Arts and Crafts - Grills from Beaux Artes
  • Detailed patterns - Salvaged floor antique heat grates in detailed patterns
  • Circular designs - A gorgeous circular design makes this reproduction register grate a beautiful piece.
  • Craftsman - Baseboard registers from the Craftsmen era are charming in their simplistic design. Authentic reproductions are offered from Mission Metalworks in standard grid design or the beautiful cathedral design.
  • Arts and Crafts - Floor heat registers often featured basic shapes and patterns during the arts and crafts movement.
  • Opera grilles - These are the wall heat register grates that were used in the late 1800s in Victorian opera houses. The exquisite heat registers have very ornate scroll work and detailed designs. Reproductions of these elegant pieces are offered at Opera Grilles.
  • Victorian sunburst - A magnificent Victorian sunburst design heat register is offered by Columbus Architectural Salvage.

Unique Uses for Antique Heat Grates

Many homeowners search for authentic heat registers to use in homes when they are renovating or building a certain style home or restoring an older one. However, there are many other ways to decorate your home using these beautiful ornate pieces of metal.For example, this beautiful and ornate heat register grate on Junk Market Style was rescued from a scrap yard. It is being turned into a wall sconce light. Other unique ideas for using antique heat grates include:

  • Wall hanging
  • Wall shelf
  • Tabletop

Where to Find Antique Heat Registers

Whether you are restoring a home or want to add a touch of antique charm using a decorative register in a unique way, architectural salvage yards generally have a nice assortment available. Other places to find these beautiful treasures include antique and collectible shows, antique stores and flea markets.Antique and vintage heat registers can also be located online. Websites that offer them include auction websites such as eBay and online stores that specialize in architectural salvage items such as:

Heat registers are also offered from many online antique shops including:

Reproductions of Antique Register Grates

Many companies, such as House of Antique Hardware produce reproductions of antique register grates. The reproductions are available in a wide variety of designs, sizes and styles. They are manufactured in the following types of metals:

  • Brass
  • Bronze
  • Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Cast iron
  • Nickel
  • Copper

Antique heat registers are wonderful examples of the lovely metalwork of utilitarian objects from years past.

Antique Heat Registers