Im back with another wierd question. I have a neighbor who's electric water heater quit heating. I know a little about electricity, and I know how to replace water heater elements thanks to my own hard water, so I thought Id give it a look. There was only one service opening on the heater dead center in the cabinet, and when I removed it all that was there was the thermostat. There were no signs of an element. I investigated the water heater farther by following some wires, and removed the pipes from the top of the tank, and removed the top cover. What I found was a open tube from the top of the heater all the way to the bottom almost like the flue opening in a gas heater. The open tube is about 3 inches diameter. I pulled from this opening a long thingy that was made of open coiled heating elements wire with ceramic spacers about every ten inches and this drops all the way to the bottom of this tube completely seperate with no contact with the water. Believe it or not, this is the way this heater heats! I have never saw anything like this in my life! I did use a small heat resistant electrical crimp to patch the heating wire together and somehow managed to get the unit to heat. My question is this. Is there any source to get this type of heating element for replacement? This is an elderly widow lady who is 93 years old with very little money and I would like to get this heater working without replacing it. The only info on the remaining label for this unit read "Manufacturer Fireball. Capacity 37 gallon. 115 volt dual power feed, 4 wire service required. 6000 watt. Hand penned on label; installer County Hardware, July 11 1963". Any ideas other than a new water heater would be really helpful. Ive already mentioned the new water heater idea, and she just started crying, so I will do what I can do for her.