I found a small stove looking like thing in my basement (22″ tall18″ wide) with a small door on the front. It is stamped “Hercules”. My father (who is a pipefitter) says it is an old water heater. I wonder if it is and how old could it be? Thanks
From the description and without seeing it, it sounds like a coal burning side arm water heater. Most of them had a date stamped on them somewhere, or at least a patent number and date. Probably not later than the ’40’s.