The following e-mail exchange with I. Kuznetsov and E. Shabaldin in Russia provides an off-the-cuff capsule history of MHA's origins:

At 03:41 PM 2001-06-30 +0600, you wrote:

Dear Norbert !

We are discovering the idea to establish the Russian masonry heater manufacturers association like
MHA now.

In fact the e-mail correspondents which has contacts with Mr. Kuznetsov discuss these problem.

If you will be so kind, could you give us some materials on
MHA conception, it's functions, the sources of financing,

rights and responsibilities of members, on concept "certified masons" and procedure of certifying of masons.

What is the supervisor of MHA (or it is the independent organization)

In general, if you could send us the Charter, we will be very thankful.

With respect,

I.Kuznetsov, E.Shabaldin

620042 Ekaterinburg, Russia
Pobedy str.,  51-87
voice: (3432) 32-94-90, 37-24-96

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Masonry heaters were a new idea in North America around 1980. Prior to that, almost no-one had ever heard of them, other than Europeans who were familiar with them from "the old country".

There was no interest in wood heating in North America prior to the 1973 oil crisis, followed by a boom in the sales of metal stoves.

Around 1979-80, several people in North America such as myself, Albie Barden, Jerry Frisch, and Jay Jarpe independently "discovered" masonry heaters. When I did a literature search on the subject at Canada's National Research Council library, I could find not a single document in the English language on the subject of masonry heaters. North American traditions are British and French, and neither country has a masonry heater tradition.

Around 1985, several people got together to try and address the issue of Building Codes. Masonry heaters were not recognized in North American building codes, so there were potential problems with obtaining fire insurance, etc. A Task Group was organized under the auspices of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), which is the world's largest consensus standards organization, with a membership of 60,000 worldwide.

Initially, the ASTM Task Group on Masonry Heaters met at the twice-yearly ASTM meeting. It was soon decided by members of the group to form The Masonry Heater Association of North America. Members included manufacturers, salesmen, and heater masons. The majority of members were heater masons. Among the small band of 20 - 30 "hard core" heater masons in the United States and Canada at the time, it was soon recognized that lack of knowledge could result in under-performing heaters as well as  very expensive callbacks, and that the cost of taking a week off work and flying to an MHA meeting to trade knowledge with one's peers could result in immediate paybacks.

I don't have a copy of our charter, but it is a fairly standard document for not-for-profit organizations.

We are incorporated in the state of Delaware as a not-for-profit corporation, and have to file an annual financial statement with the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

We have an annual meeting, and elect 4 officers for a 2 year term. The officers are president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer. All of the positions are volunteer positions. We have one contract employee, our administrator.

Most of our revenues are generated from annual membership dues. We currently have about 50 voting members, who each pay $250.00 US annually. Also, our administrator runs an online bookstore that generates about $2,000 annually. In addition, several members have organized heater building workshops and donated the proceeds to MHA. Two workshops last year, organized by Albie Barden and Jerry Frisch, respectively, generated a total of approximately $5,500 in revenues that were generously donated to our association.   Some additional revenues are generated by our heater mason certification program. Our annual budget is in the range of $15,000 - $20,000.

Most of our decisions are made at the annual meeting, when the membership is present. In between meetings, business is handled on an informal basis among the executive via email and telephone.

Several years after we started, we stopped having our annual meeting in conjunction with ASTM, and went to the annual Hearth Products Association (HPA) trade show instead. This is a large annual event where manufacturers display their wares and the owners of retail stove stores, etc., attend in order to select product lines to sell. HPA is well funded, and our association with them has resulted in considerable help with regulatory and government issues. These issues dealt mainly with the subject of air pollution regulations, and currently are more in the area of building code and fire safety regulations.

For the last 5 years, we have held our annual meetings at Wildacres Retreat in North Carolina. It provides excellent facilities for non-profit groups and is subsidized by the Blumenthal Foundation.

We have also developed a certification program for heater masons. The details of our certification progam are available at:

Best ........ Norbert Senf

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July 4, 2001

Dear Mr.Senf !

Thank you very much for your information and nice explanation.

Mr. Kuznetsov is working on several branches now. One of them is association.

 With respect,

Eugeny D.Shabaldin
Associate Professor, Ph.D.

Ural State Vocational Pedagogics University (USVPU),
Electrical and Power Engineering Department
Electrical Engineering Chair

Home address:

620039 Ekaterinburg, Russia
Kulturi str., 25-102
tel: (3432) 32-77-56

This page was last updated on July 4, 2001
This page was created on July 2, 2001