A torpedo heater is any of a variety of portable forced-air or convection heaters, which are often kerosene-fueled and used in ventilated areas for worksite comfort. Torpedo heaters are most commonly found at construction sites. Depending on their style, they can also be referred to as ‘torpedo furnaces’, ‘salamander furnaces’, or ‘salamander heaters’.
They have been in existance since the early 1940s, when Mr W.L. Scheu of ‘Scheu Manufacturing Company’ (at the time a leading producer of temporary portable space heating equipment), invented the Torpedo heater / Salamander heater, to provide warmth for laborers. This allowed construction crews to work in colder weather and increased productivity. With the introduction of the Salamander heater in the 1940s, sales spread across the nation, and by the 1950s across the Atlantic to Europe.
Torpedo heaters are still popular today, with makes like ‘Master’, ‘Reddy’ and ‘Dayton’ offering a range of kerosene and propane-fueled heaters with ratings from 30,000 right up to 600,000 BTU.
Although they are most popular within the construction industry, smaller torpedo heaters can also be used in garages and workshops if there is sufficient ventilation.