Granted, Perkins never intended to use his discovery in the service of heating homes. He first developed a steam powered gun, and then used the technology in the engraving business, specifically as a way to heat printing plates. It was Jacob’s son Angier who applied his father’s discovery to space heating.
The younger Perkins reasoned that steam heating would be more popular if the pipe size could be reduced and the amount of heat output increased. To accomplish these goals he created a sealed pipe system. He heated the water to a very high temperature to force it through a small pipe, about 1 inch in diameter. The trouble was no one manufactured tubing this small, so Perkins arranged to purchase the needed material from another British firm that was converting wrought iron gun barrels into gas tubing.