SEA BRIGHT: A WARM, POST-SANDY EMBRACE

One of three wraparound radiators now gets post-Sandy prominence at Bain’s Hardware. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

When the Atlantic Ocean and Shrewsbury River decided to throw a raucous party in Sea Bright, it was bad news for Bain’s Hardware. Every piece of merchandise, including 1,500 gallons of paint and an inventory that ran to 65,000 individual items, was lost.

But that was then, and owner Frank Bain has put Hurricane Sandy behind him. He’s even found a number of upsides to the storm, what he calls “Sandy’s sand dollars.” The biggest, he says, is the generosity of the dozens of customers, friends and strangers, not to mention a paint supplier, who chipped to help him rapidly reopen the paint side of the operation. He cheerfully painted that room a color he calls ‘Sandy Beige.’

Here’s another sand dollar, said Bain: the opportunity to show off a rare, eye-catching radiator.

It turns out Bain’s is home to three large, cylindrical radiators. Each, with 30 fins, wraps around a structural support column.

Bain knew they were there. But until Sandy forced him to rip out wallboard, they were covered over and hidden behind shelving.

Now, one of them has been shined to high, silvery gloss and been given its own pedestal, front and center in the store. And it’s turning out to be something of a conversation starter.

It’s not clear how old the radiators are. The building dates to about 1900, but probably didn’t have steam heat at the time, Bain said. That came later.

The heating elements are apparently rarities.

“I have yet to meet anyone who has ever even heard of one that wraps around a pole before, let alone seen one,” said Bain. “And I’m talking heating contractors, plumbers.”

“That’s one of the great discoveries of the storm,” he said.