Adding an antique or vintage stove to a contemporary or period kitchen can transform the busiest room in your home into a working museum. Whether it’s a mammoth, Victorian, cast-iron range crowned with an ornamental splash back or a more modest, boxy, 21-inch O’Keefe & Merritt apartment stove from the 1940s, an antique or vintage stove makes a powerful design statement.
Most Victorian-era stoves were made from cast iron and designed to burn wood, coal, or both. Manufacturers generally sold regionally, so the brands are not as important from a collecting standpoint, as with stoves from, say, the 1930s and 1940s. What matters most to contemporary collectors of antique stoves is the level of ornamentation—in short, the more the merrier.
Pennsylvania-based manufacturer Floyd, Wells & Co. made a host of ranges under the Irving brand—the Irving, Grand Irving, Loyal Irving, Prize Irving, True Irving, Rose Irving, and on and on—as well as ranges with names like Justice, Fidelity, and Progress. Other manufacturers included Majestic Mfg. Co. of St. Louis and Pennsylvania’s Buckwalter Stove Co., whose New Adonis was a veritable kitchen altar.
Another type of antique Victorian stove that is perhaps more popular with collectors than kitchen ranges, simply because it is smaller and easier to move around, is the pot-belly stove, which was typically used for heat rather than cooking and is known variously as a cannon, globe, or egg stove.
The most utilitarian and unadorned of these stoves is generally only going to be worth anything at all if it is still functioning. More ornate pot bellies—with mica windows in the feed doors, matching foot rails, and deep decorative ribs—may be prized for their beauty alone.
At the beginning of the 20th century, stoves that also burned gas began to be more common. Steel slowly started to replace cast iron, and the most prized stoves were coated in white porcelain, to give the appliances a spotless and sanitary sheen. Simple configurations include perhaps four burners on the left with a small oven at chest height to the right. More complex arrangements increase the burner count to six and add a second oven and perhaps even a warmer.
The 1930s and 1940s were the glory decades for vintage stoves. This is the era when brands like Chambers, Dixie, Gaffers & Sattler, O’Keefe & Merritt, Roper, Tappan, and Wedgewoo...
One interesting sub-genre of stove collecting is the field of camping stoves. Today we associate camping stoves with the Coleman brand, and, indeed, Coleman has been a leader in this field since the 1920s. But other manufacturers were also producing fine portable stoves, including the Kampkook and Readykook from American Gas Machine Co., Clayton & Lambert, Primus, and the generically named Model 42A Senior from Wehrle.
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Fallstrom: The Lehrs are a true partnershipHerald & Review, January 28th
Over here is an antique stove. Over there are some of Red's musical souvenirs. It's a museum. Yes, Red has been as proficient with a gun as with the sousaphone. Red's deceased father built the house and the family moved in about 1955. It's a treasure...Read more
Public Radio: Are You Listening?Huffington Post, January 9th
There's an antique stove as décor and a sign saying "Everett Family Farms operates on the Honor System." A big black box with a slot on top accepts your cash. You weigh your own produce on the scale provided, do your own math on the yellow legal pad, ...Read more
If you want a VictorianNewsday, January 8th
plaster walls, intricate moldings, tall windows and two fireplaces are among the details of the main level. The updated kitchen is designed with wood countertops, a center island with seating, a large sink, another sink for prep and a working...Read more
Neighbors in Religion: Special birthday for beloved bishopMiamiHerald.com, January 5th
The family still uses the antique stove to prepare family meals — both great and small. On this, their wedding anniversary Samuel Armstrong said: “I'm going to take my wife out to dinner. She likes to go out, I don't. But wherever she wants to go, I'm...Read more
Good Samaritan inherits antique stoveLancasterOnline, January 2nd
On a sweltering hot summer day, after mowing his elderly neighbor's small yard, Kerry Glenn would receive an ice cold glass of water from Queen Elizabeth II. “I used to call her 'your majesty' and she would chuckle at that,” said Glenn, a Columbia native...Read more
Mini-stove love affair: Infatuation began at Houston antique showMuskogee Daily Phoenix, October 20th
Bruce and Gerri Mumford are shown in their kitchen with the antique stove that started Bruce's love affair for collecting these miniature antiques. Posted: Monday, October 20, 2014 11:37 pm. Mini-stove love affair: Infatuation began at Houston antique...Read more
Antique stove aficionado Buck Froman works to keep history, Phoenix Pharmacy ...The Oregonian, March 28th
The refurbished antique stoves at Buck's Stove Palace are tucked away in a separate room, hidden from the main retail space by a thick curtain. The stoves are ornate, with figurines and other artistic details. Robert "Buck" Froman estimates he owns 600...Read more
FOCUS: Inside Little Compton's Antique Stove HospitalFall River Herald News, December 14th
The Antique Stove Hospital had its first full-time doctor. Six years later, his youngest son retired from his middle-school classroom on Block Island, moved to East Providence and began his residency at the hospital. Brandon, 35, now commutes to his...Read more