It’s time to go vertical
What use is a towel rail, or towel warmer? Clue’s in the name probably, but that’s not the whole story. Unless you’re one of a dying breed who only ever use a towel once and then wash it immediately, (costly both for you and the environment), then you need your towel rail to provide two simple functions. Offer useful hanging positions and dry your towels efficiently. Wet towels hanging about the bathroom (or worse still thrown over anything that provides a drying surface) are unpleasant. Not a good look and there’s always one person that goes about collecting them and hanging them. So Eskimo set out to make this all very easy for everyone concerned. You want a towel rail that can dry all of your towels in a flash, using as little energy as possible for both the environment and the humans involved. In an aesthetically pleasing form that also makes hanging (or throwing) much easier. That’s the job description.
Gordon – Flash drying towel warmer, was born of a realisation that the standard towel rail with horizontal bars didn’t work as designed. This was backed up by an extensive Eskimo test series which discovered that, despite the high energy consumption, the standard ladder rail didn’t even effectively dry and warm towels overnight. This was our absolute lowest benchmark measure of acceptable product performance.
After more research we then embarked upon a second test series where we started hanging the towels vertically, over the ends of the horizontally styled ladder towel rail. Why? Because this is precisely how most people used them. It turns out that it’s easier to hang a towel over the vertical end point of a ladder rail. Plus the towel had more chance of becoming dry than it did if stuffed or folded over a horizontal bar on the ladder rail. Whilst this notable action only utilised a small part of the ladder rail, thus wasting the majority of its energy used, it did then become more effective at drying a couple of towels. What was poignant here was that people intuitively worked round the deficiencies of the ladder rail design and turned this popular product in to something that was more effective, by using it in a different way than intended. All very well and good, but you’re not really getting your money’s worth and you only have two effective spaces for towels.
When it comes to great product design, Eskimo believe that you should, at the very heart, begin with an attitude of “there are no rules”. That way, design boundaries are pushed, new ideas can happen and an honest dialogue can pave the way towards something that is alluring in both form and functionality. Our research had informed us that people were naturally more comfortable hanging things vertically. For many reasons it seemed obvious to us that we needed to challenge the conventional horizontal towel rail solution, seen in almost every bathroom. Horizontal, folded towels, do not dry effectively. Fact. Aesthetically, a large majority of the ladder rails on the market did not offer decent hanging or drying space for four towels, especially bath sheets, for example. Additionally, even the simplest, cleanest design versions still managed to have an unsettling amount of ugly components or finishes. With all of this in mind, Eskimo set about doing what we do best. Designing architectural, clean lined forms coupled with robust engineering. It was time to go vertical. Gordon’s vertical heated hanging fins were sensibly based upon ‘hanging’ product design and solid physics.
Using only natural convection the speed with which a towel will dry is a function of temperature, airflow and humidity.
The maximum operating temperature has a limit imposed by what is safe and comfortable in a room where the user tends to be wearing little or nothing. The British and European Standards weren’t much use here as they allow a maximum surface temperature of 95ºC – genuinely dangerous in our opinion and worth noting that many products on the market operate towards this limit. In order to keep things safe we adopted the Low Surface Temperature standard used in public buildings such as hospitals of max 43ºC for an electric towel warmer without a towel on. Once you cover it with a towel this can be allowed to rise a bit because it’s much safer for the user in this state. We set ourselves a limit here of 56ºC – still much lower than most radiator temperatures of c.60-80ºC