Total Pageviews

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Life in Stoves

I've been thinking about this for a while -- when you get to a certain point in your life, you realize that there is much more fading memory stretched behind you than new experience left ahead, and it's natural to become reflective. This autobiographical tendency is one that drives many people to blogging, but I have been resisting it with little effort up until now.  However, there is an at least semi-interesting question that's relevant here: why should I have been so prepared to spend so much of my time since about 2004 on the history of the cast-iron stove? [1]  Why stoves, why me?

It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say that I could measure out my life in stoves.  They have all kinds of connotations -- home, family, warmth, comfort -- so they're a form of domestic technology with which it's actually quite easy to make an emotional connection.  Or maybe it's just that they've always been there, so when I think back through my life, I often encounter stoves along the way, and they prompt none but happy memories.

Not unlike Bryn Goleu -- John Hinde, "Exmoor Cottage," 1947

The first would have been the kitchen range in my parents' house in Penrhynside in the very early 1950s, "Bryn Goleu Cottage," a rented two-up, two-down in which I spent the first couple of years of my life.  It had cold running water indoors but no bathroom, so we washed in the tin bath in front of the fire.  I have no memories of this at all, but it's quite nice to think that formative experiences of light, warmth, playing in water, the pleasure of feeling clean, comfort, and love will have been in the glow of the flames of a classic cottage kitchener, a device invented in the late 18th century in Britain and scarcely improved upon over the next two hundred years.

Me in the tin bath at our cottage door, July 1952.

I certainly saw plenty more of these old ranges in my childhood, and even for years afterwards -- one in the kitchen-workshop of Hugh Hughes, the village cobbler, with its unforgettable but indescribable smell, decades of sole leather and pipe smoke ... another in the basement kitchen of "Melville," my unmarried great-uncles' house in Pembrokeshire, an enormous cast-iron monstrosity with such an appetite for anthracite, which it burned so inefficiently, that by the 1950s these old mariners could barely bother or afford to light it. When they had to, they would sometimes chop up the antique (said to be Chippendale) furniture they'd inherited from their parents, if they were short of kindling ... There was one in Derry Ormond Home Farm, an idyllic place outside Lampeter in Dyfed where I set up house with my girlfriend in the spring and long hot summer of 1976, and we even attempted to bake on it (the results were more like lead than dough) ... and there was another in the cottage of the old lady across the road from where we lived in Llanfair Clydogau from autumn 1976 until the end of 1979.  She still cooked on it, and once I had to endure a meal of bacon and onions, simmered rather than fried over its inadequate heat, as a gesture of gratitude for some kind deed I have forgotten now, but regretted instantly, whereas the warmed congealing fat lives with me still. [2]

Another Cottage Kitchener -- ovens on the right, water boiler (probably) left.

In 1953 we moved down the hill to another of my father's family's rented properties, "Cybi House," which my parents finally bought twenty years later.  It remained our family home until my mother had to move into  residential care at the end of her ninetieth year, and we only sold it (almost gave it away, given the state of the market) in the summer of 2011.  Cybi House had a small kitchen separate from the dining and family room, a sitting room, a bathroom (newly installed when we moved in), and three bedrooms -- a real step up.  For heat, we still relied on open fires, but the one in the family room had a patented grate set in a smart tiled surround, very 1950s Modern, that enabled it to be kept burning slowly all night and revived in the morning (in theory, at least).  It was usually the only significant source of heat in the house -- bedroom fires were only lit in their small cast-iron grates when we were ill and confined to bed, if indeed then; the sitting-room fire only appeared at Christmas, and the rest of the year we shivered in front of a one-bar electric fire or huddled over an oil (kerosene) heater, another 19th-century device, instead.  For hot water, there was a coke- and anthracite- (or, if need be, wood-) burning "Ideal" boiler in the kitchen, small but very fierce and efficient.  The house was single-glazed, with ill-fitting doors and sash windows, so it wasn't particularly comfortable.  We just assumed that in winter you dressed warmly and hung blankets around the backs of chairs, to form a barrier between you and the chill winds down the stairs, under the doors, through the curtains, everywhere.

A bigger and clumsier Ideal than ours

My grandparents owned their own houses, and had a bit more money, and so were prepared to make more of an investment in cooking and heating appliances.  My Nain (my father's mother) who lived up at the top of the hill in Penrhynside, and my mother's parents down in Pembrokeshire, had this in common: they both owned Rayburns (my grandparents also had an Ideal boiler for heating the hot water, which is probably where we got the idea; they probably paid for it, too).  My grandfather's brother and his wife went one better: in their comfortable detached seaside bungalow they had an Aga.

A rather battered old Rayburn

These must have been the first "proper" kitchen stoves I ever knew.  Such comfort!  Wonderful baking came out of the ovens of all of these bright, clean, functional, enameled and insulated cast-iron boxes.  Toast never tasted better than when done over the coals of the Rayburn's fire.  The beeswax with which its polished hot plate was kept clean and bright, and the orange and lemon peel drying in the slow oven to be used for kindling, gave the kitchen its distinctive smell.  Limitless hot water poured out of their back boilers.  And when you came in from the cold in winter, you could feel the solid warmth immediately, and sit as close to the fire as you wanted to, with no danger of burning.  You could even sit on the top of the stove (if the hot-plate cover was down), or just lean against the gleaming chrome towel-rail in front, and steam.  I now know that the Rayburn was the product of a British company founded by a couple of Scots, James Smith and Stephen Wellstood, who returned from America, where they had first learnt about stoves, in the 1850s; and that the Aga, even in the 1950s a symbol of sensible middle-classness, was invented by Gustaf Dalen, the only blind Nobel Prize winner ever to find a second career as a stove inventor.

A well-used Aga

My mother cleaned middle-class ladies' houses in the winter, and worked in a small local hotel in the summer, to help make our family's always straitened finances stretch far enough.  When I visited her at work, I met more stoves -- in Mrs. Wilde's in Bryn-y-Bia Road, another Aga, of course; in the kitchen of Miss Williams's Bodafon Hall Hotel, an enormous estate-green enameled Esse stove, the Rayburn's big sister; or maybe it was even a Wellstood, another of the brands produced by Smith & Wellstood's Columbian Stove Works in Bonnybridge, the factory's name an obvious reference to the originally American technology of comfort that its founders had brought to a backward Britain a century earlier.

Miss Williams's kitchen and my great-aunt Hilda's in Pembrokeshire had this in common, as well as their big stoves: the smell.  I realize now that the difference between them and my mother's or even my grandmothers' was that they used strange things -- herbs and spices! -- that we never encountered in domestic cuisine, only in animal food.  So the associations in  my mind between stoves, comparative wealth, warmth, good food, comfort -- not a single negative reference -- were solidly laid, even before I was into double figures.

This is a new model Esse, wrong colour but about the right size

I kept meeting these friendly lumps of hot cast iron when I was outside the house, or other people's homes, too.  At Bodafon School and in Hakin School, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, where I spent so much of my childhood, heating was provided by great shiny black stoves in the corner of every classroom, with mica (or maybe, by the 1950s, heat-proof glass) windows in their firedoors to give people a warming sight of the glowing coals inside, just as Oliver Evans, Eliphalet Nott, and many others had done with their American stoves in the 1800s and 1820s.  We had some hard winters, short trousers and bare legs all year round, and our woollen coats were none too warm or waterproof, so the monster at the front of the room was a welcome sight. Those were the days of free school milk, too, and when it had frozen solid in the bottle outside overnight the teachers simply put the metal crates on top of the stove at the start of the day, so that when it came to mid-morning our milk was at least thawed out, and sometimes almost sickeningly warm, its cloying stench strong enough to cut through the smell of chalk, damp clothes, and not very washed young bodies crowding the classroom. [3]

The other memorable stove from my childhood was something I didn't actually recognize as a stove until I was well into my fifties.  It was in the boiler house on my father's smallholding, "The Ranch," a couple of acres at the top of the hill where he kept pigs, chickens, pigeons, and the occasional sheep, cow, or pony.  (In the picture below, the boiler house is the first door in the nearest building -- pigstyes, chicken coop, and pigeon hut are in the middle distance.)  In the 1950s our stock ate very well -- not just "mash" (bran and other grist-mill byproducts, boiled into a tasty and nutritious porridge, and flavoured with wonderful Karswoods poultry spice, made up of ground-up dried insects and chilli; I sometimes thought that the hens had a slightly more interesting diet than we did at home), but also swill, a delicacy now illegal.  We collected all of our own, our family's, and our neighbours' food waste from their back yards, put it in bins and wheeled them in barrows to the Ranch, where we boiled and stirred it into an amazing stew.  The pigs loved it, and thrived -- until the 'elf 'n safety brigade began to complain that swill was a wonderful way of conveying a cocktail of pathogens into the animal and in due course human gut, and the making of it was restricted and finally, after the great Foot and Mouth epidemic of 2001, banned entirely.

"The Ranch" in the 1960s

I didn't know it at the time, but key to their diet and our smallholder economy was the great cast-iron cauldron in which we did our cooking, firing it with any scrap wood around.  A few years ago I found out where the "farmer's cauldron" came from -- Jordan Mott's New York invention of 1840, one of the biggest-selling and most influential products of the burgeoning American stove industry.  When I saw the patent record for Mott's great discovery, I had a kind of epiphany: I had been an American stove user since I had been in short pants (and wellingtons)!  My research topic was not a matter of choice, it was Destiny

Not Mott's original design, and much prettier than our pigs' swill  boiler

Most of these strong "stove memories" are from early childhood -- basically the 1950s -- partly, I suppose, because this furniture of everyday life became familiar, but also because in the 1960s it began to change.

We had never been an entirely solid-fueled household.  We always cooked by gas -- had to, because the Ideal boiler occupied the alcove in the back kitchen that would once have held the range -- at first, on a typical cast-iron gas stove of the interwar period, with its mottled grey enamel frame, black japanned burners, white panels, and "Regulo"-controlled oven.  At some point, probably in the late 1950s, it was replaced by a modern cream sheet-steel "New World"-brand model, which served for the next quarter-century.  (I was brought up to believe that the more important word in the compound noun "consumer durable" was the adjective durable.) Sundays in our house always had the same shape -- in the morning, church, then dinner, and then my mother would refocus her worship on the true household god, the gas cooker, given a thorough clean inside and out so that, when she gave it us in the early 1980s, it was almost as good as new.

We also used gas for heating the water for the kitchen when the Ideal boiler wasn't going, which was most of the time, and the hot water in the storage tank had cooled down too much.  There was a device called a "geyser" (always pronounced "geezer," which made us smile) for this purpose, fixed to the wall next to the sink, which was quite effective.  It had a pilot light you could see through a spy-hole, and the burner ignited with a very satisfying whoosh! or even a thump! when the water was turned on.

My mother in her office at Cybi House, 1965 --
the alcove for the range, and then the boiler, is behind her.

The geyser, though personally innocent, figured as an accessory in one of my less pleasant childhood memories.  It was bath night, and as I was youngest (about five at the time?) I got the water last, by which time it had cooled down.  To top it up, water would be carried up from the geyser tap in the kitchen.  My older brother, Allan, was big enough (about nine?) to do the job but, often absent-minded (he became a quite successful medic), he poured it straight on me rather than into the open water at the far end of the bath, which I didn't reach.  I was badly scalded around the knees, something much more painful and scarring then than it probably would be now, because that best of immediate remedies for a burn or scald, plentiful cold water, did not seem to have been discovered.  I even have memories, which may be false, that the scald was "treated" by our family doctor with the application of hot kaolin poultices; or that particular form of medical torment may have been used for something else, and just got confused with my other memories of too much painful heat.

In the early 1950s, we also used gas to heat the water for the family's clothes-washing.  If I can measure out my life in stoves, for my mother the equivalent was probably washing machines.  At the start of her married life, doing the washing was still the traditional ordeal of hard labour -- heating up the water on the kitchen range, then doing everything by hand in a galvanized, corrugated-steel "dolly tub," with the aid of a "posser" to shift the dirt into the sudsy water, and a wood-and-iron mangle to squeeze the water from the bedding and clothes, which were then hung on the line outside if possible, or on the airer over the fire if not.  Everything ended up on the airer, even if it had been dried outside -- airing was terribly important, because getting the damp out before things needed to be used again was such a chore.

When we moved from Bryn Goleu Cottage to Cybi House, she graduated to an Acme boiler, which gas-heated its own water.  It had a mechanical, hand-operated "agitator," so the posser was relegated to the outside shed and only used for washing delicate stuff afterwards, and a smart rubber-and-metal wringer.  That lasted for several years, and at some point was replaced by the great liberator, a Hotpoint Twin-Tub washing machine, manufactured in Llandudno Junction and readily available quite cheaply from people who worked there (this source of supply may or may not have been entirely legal.  Junction-made Hotpoints were very robust, serving reliably for years after falling off the backs of lorries outside many houses around the district).  In due course the Twin-Tub, which still required quite a bit of heavy lifting of wet clothes from the tub into the very efficient spin-drier, was displaced by an automatic, front-loading washer, and by the end of her life she had one that dried as well as washing and spinning.

Anyway, the upshot of this is that as we got a bit richer in the 1950s and early 60s, and energy prices must have fallen in real terms too, we became steadily less solid-fuel dependent, and fires moved to the margins of my life, and stoves with them.  The Ideal boiler and geyser were removed, and we got an electric immersion heater in the hot-water tank instead -- my scalding may have accelerated this bit of progress.  The open fire in the family room, where we ate, listened to the wireless, read, did our homework, and annoyed our father when he wanted to relax at the end of the day, was stopped up, and a gas fire inserted into it.  In the beginning, that would have worked on town gas, manufactured until the mid-1950s at the local gas works down in Llandudno whose by-product, coke, burnt in our and everybody else's Ideal boilers.  But then that quite efficient local fuel cycle was broken.  The gas works shut, and from then on our gas was manufactured somewhere else and arrived by pipeline (the resulting end of the cheap coke supply may also have had something to do with the eviction of our and everybody else's Ideal boilers).  At the end of the following  decade (to be precise, on Thursday May 8th, 1969), the gas coming through the pipes was no longer made from coal (or, briefly, imported oil), it was flowing from the Irish and then the North Seas -- "natural gas," the cheap, non-lethal "fuel of the future" (which will have run out between my 'teens and my years as a pensioner).

The stoves were still there, but fewer of them.  When I went to Grammar School in Llandudno, I moved away from a world of iron stoves in every classroom to one of central heating with big cast-iron radiators instead -- more effective, but less characterful, less impressive.  When my father stopped collecting and boiling swill, the cauldron disappeared from the Ranch, turned to scrap.  My grandparents and great-uncle and many other village people kept their Rayburns and, if they were prosperous, their Agas, but these were things of the past now, many of them converted to run on oil or even gas.

There was just one new, solid-fueled Rayburn that I met several times in the early 1960s, at my uncle Len's farm high on the moors in the Yorkshire Pennines, in the village of Holme just below Holme Moss.  My brothers and I went there several years running during the October half-term from school, when we didn't go to Pembrokeshire (one of those, very wet, autumn holidays will be forever memorable -- it was 1966, when the coal tips above the village of Aberfan slid down into the valley, destroying Pantglas School and many houses, and killing 144 people, most of them children).  The drive there took us over Saddleworth Moor, always pretty grim and even grimmer after it became the burial-place of the Moors Murderers' child victims (this was the big news just before our 1965 visit).

My uncle was a hard-working dairy farmer, making a living on a holding that was far too high up and small to be easy or very profitable.  It was a working holiday for us, going on his milk round every morning down in the valley textile town of Holmfirth, still smoking and clicking busily with woollen mills, when it was sometimes beautiful and other times cold enough to make the bottles freeze to your hands; helping with the herding, the feeding, the milking, the bottling, the mucking-out, and all the regular daily jobs (the one I liked least was herding the cattle in for milking, trying to run after the single recalcitrant cow in every herd through the mud they had trampled into a Somme-quality quagmire, losing my boots in the sucking filth and measuring my length in shit); and taking on heavy seasonal tasks, particularly digging out the several feet of muck and compressed straw that had accumulated in the barn where the cows spent the previous winter away from the weather, so that they could start using it again; and opening up the silage pit where their rich, vinegary feed was stored nearby.

The Rayburn was the heart of my uncle and aunt's kitchen, a warm, dry, welcoming place at lunch and dinner time, producing very hearty high-carb meals, and wonderful fruit cake every tea-time, and the source of the blessed hot water in which, at the end of the day, we could try to remove the farmyard smell of sweat and mud and manure.  Those remembered holidays have made it much easier for me to visualize the American country kitchens of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, where the stove or range was also the most important thing standing between the family and a miserable life of much worse discomfort.  A thousand feet up in the West Riding, all we had to cope with was damp cold, and in late October just a few degrees of frost.  But after a winter in Ithaca, NY a few years later, I knew what dry cold and -15 F felt like, and have since found it easy to understand the importance of creating a zone of comfort when the outside world is so harsh.

Otherwise I no longer had many new encounters with interesting bits of heating technology, in an age when most people relied increasingly on the boring modern fuels and systems that worked so much better, and with less trouble.  I do recall the Baxi Burnall, a wonderful modern open fire with a back boiler in the smart, comfortable house of my school and college friend Andrew McNeillie's parents -- his father John (Ian Niall, for literary purposes), formerly an engineer, explained to me how it got its air supply from the outside, so there were fewer draughts in the room and it was more controllable and the heat did not all go up the chimney.  This struck me as very clever in the early 1970s, but I now know that Benjamin Franklin and Count Rumford had worked it all out a couple of centuries earlier.

And then the trail goes cold, after I left home, and moved into an Oxford world of not much comfort, gas and electric fires, occasionally central heating, and just taking moderate warmth, plentiful hot water, and easy cooking for granted. Even when I went to the United States in 1974-75, I only bumped into one memorable stove -- on an Easter vacation in New Hampshire, where some college friends and I went to stay with an old Forestry professor from Cornell and his wife, retired to North Conway in the White Mountains.  It was sugaring time, and we helped with tapping the maples, carrying the sap buckets, and "sugaring off" in his sugar shack over a wood-fired evaporator, something I now know to have been a classic piece of C19th technology, almost as old as Mott's farmers' cauldron.  It was cold, hard, exhilarating work, and we started the day with a high-calorie breakfast cooked on the kitchen stove, also wood-fired, that we huddled around in an old house much of which, including the freezing bedrooms where we burrowed under mounds of bedclothes and tried to sleep, was pretty chilly.  In recent years, when I've been reading and thinking about the wood-fueled rural economy of the Eastern States in the early nineteenth century, that sugaring time in North Conway provides my other reference point, alongside my uncle and aunt's farmhouse kitchen: This is what it felt like.

Edgar Wyman's North Conway Sugar Shack -- other views here.

[to be continued]

Well, that's what I wrote three years ago.  And then I didn't continue it.  Not much more to say, really.  I bought my first house in Llanfair Clydogau in Dyfed in 1976, and found it had an oil-fired Rayburn in the kitchen.  When it worked well, without fumes, it was a blessing.  But all too often it did smell and smoke, because of faulty installation (I found out too late, after suffering it for years), and it was hard to feel much affection for it.  When I moved to Durham in 1980 my first house (a short-term rental) and then the one I bought and lived in for the next seventeen years both had solid-fuel, theoretically smokeless stoves (burning anthracite and/or manufactured coal briquettes) to run their hot-water and central-heating systems.  I could manage to get them to work OK, occasionally for several days at a time, and to cope with their gravity-feed fuelling systems, but nobody who lived with me was equally capable or bothered to try, so in 1987 I finally succumbed to modernity, ripped the boiler out and replaced it with natural gas.

So at the same time as I was becoming, through my work on the history of the Philadelphia metal trades, interested in U.S. stoves and their manufacture, we didn't have one ourselves; at least, not a real one.  We acquired a Coalbrookdale "Little Wenlock" cast-iron stove to heat our living room, but it was a cheat: it ran on natural gas, so it had to have so much air passing uninterruptedly through it that it was little more thermally efficient (about 40 percent) than an ordinary radiating and convecting gas fire.  Nice to have, though, even so.

However, in 1997, when we moved house, the stars came into alignment.  The new house came with a big, 7 Kw output, Hunter stove in the living room. The Hunter isn't pretty, but it works.  Only the firebox and ash-pit doors are cast iron, and they're pretty plain.  The body of the stove is welded steel.  The sides and top have a thin metal jacket, which means that the stove is safer (you can't touch the sides and top of the stove, which can be burning hot) and also that it turns into a powerful convector, hot, dry air pouring out of the grilles in the top on which you can place dishes of food to warm up or stay hot.  Originally it helped work the hot water and central heating system too, but we simplified the latter a decade or so ago (it was over-complex, and no plumber wanted to repair it) and since then the Hunter has just been a space-heater, a luxury on winter evenings.  It does what stoves always have -- burns smokeless coal and well-seasoned wood very efficiently, and produces a solid, dry warmth that's otherwise hard to match.  We can see the flames through the heat-resistant glass doors, and, perhaps best of all, make it through an evening's burning with a handful of kindling, a few nuggets of coal, and a couple of logs.  

Keeping the stove fed and cleaned does what solid-fuel heating always has, too: makes me appreciate that domestic comfort doesn't and perhaps shouldn't come without effort; and warms me several times over, particularly cutting, carrying, and stacking my woodpile.  It's not an ideal stove: newer ones would burn more efficiently and keep their glass cleaner longer.  But it does the business and, barring accidents (e.g. a broken gate bar, which we'd struggle to get repaired or replaced) it should live to heat us into and perhaps even beyond its thirtieth year.

[1] What got me looking backward like this was the invitation from the journal Labor History to contribute to a 30-year retrospective review symposium on my first book, The Right to Manage: Industrial relations Policies of American Business in the 1940s (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1982),  But they only gave me 4,000 words, so though it set me thinking about why I wrote that book, I needed more space -- which I acquired, for free of course, online. See and especially

[2] I think her name was Mrs. Lewis, and it could be that the good deed was one I should not have regretted.  One evening, walking or biking home from the college where I taught, I heard a low moaning from her house when I passed (our tiny hamlet on Llanfair Road was very quiet).  I can't remember the details now, but I figured out it was her, not an animal (as she didn't have a pet), and went in -- luckily she kept to the old country custom of not locking the door.  She had fallen on her stone-slab kitchen floor, and was in agony.  I went and phoned the doctors, and the senior partner came out quickly.  He was quite a character -- had originally trained as a vet, and everybody said that his decision to change to treating humans had been a sad day for animal health.  He was thought to be a drinker, and certainly had a very bluff bedside manner.  He breezed into her house, took one look at her (we hadn't tried to move her, just covered her with coats and blankets to keep her warm), and said "Mrs. Lewis bach, I can see you've broken your neck!" This made her really alarmed.  "No, no Doctor Lloyd, I can still move."  "I meant the neck of your femur," he said, Ho Ho Ho, very amused at his own ice-breaking humour, which had fortunately not shocked her to death.

[3] Bodafon School's headmaster in my time was an absolute nut for cricket, and it was therefore the only sport we were allowed to play, on the small triangular tarmac playground, at all seasons of the year.  Or almost the only sport.  For boys there was also "pissing over the wall" -- the urinal was a small unroofed brick enclosure off the playground, with a slate wall to pee against and a red earthenware trough to catch the golden liquid.  What we all tried to do was to piss as nearly vertical as we could manage, without getting it all blown back onto our clothes, into our faces, etc.  If there had been a contest in the juvenile Olympics for the high piss, then the Bodafon School boys' team would certainly have won it.  But unsuccessful attempts at the record probably helped explain the distinctive smell of the classroom.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Looking for the Fougerays: The Growth of the Philadelphia Stove Trade, 1810-1830

This is a bit different from what I've written here before, in that it's not just the republication of a piece of my research notes, it could develop into an actual research note in its own right.  Here's the story: a while ago, I came across a reproduction of a very nice illustration of an obviously early stove advertisement in a US newspaper:

 (Lee, History of American Journalism [1917], opp. p. 224)

What excited me about this was that early stove ads are quite rare, or at least they are if you don't have access to subscription-based US newspaper archives.  (For a few other, similar early ads, see the first few items listed in "Stove Catalogues [etc.]" on my new website, -- the Postley, James, and Wilson ads.  See also this more recent post.)  I knew that the Fougerays were members of the community of Philadelphia stove makers and sellers, the earliest and at the time (the 1820s) still probably the largest in the United States, and these were nice illustrations of the kind of thing they and their peers were buying from the S.E. Pennsylvania/S.W. New Jersey iron furnaces that manufactured the plates.  (For the location of these, see two Google maps -- one of the Jersey furnaces active between c. 1810 and 1840, the other of the suppliers to one of Philadelphia's largest stove merchants, Powell Stackhouse, in the 1830s.)

The obvious question I had was this: what was the date of the ads?  Obviously no earlier than the late 1820s, because of the reference to "Lehigh and Schuylkill Coal" (anthracite), which only came into extensive use from the middle part of the decade, but probably not much later, because the products listed and illustrated are so traditional -- an open fire grate, and a version of a three-boiler "Old Philadelphia"-style ten-plate stove with Federal-Era decoration.

Anyway, how to answer this question?  The quickest way seemed to be to trawl through editions of the Philadelphia City Directory, all of them very conveniently digitized and available through the Internet Archive, and most easily accessed through the Philadelphia GeoHistory site's Resources area,

And this turned out to be both productive and rewarding.  One can trace the development of the stove business in what was still America's second-biggest city, and the capital of the stove trade, as well as working out the Fougeray family's place within it.  In 1810, Rene J. Fougeray, who had arrived in the city after the French Revolution, is recorded as a "whitesmith," i.e. a worker in cold sheet metals, including copper, brass, and tin, as well as iron, at 99 North Front (later Second) Street, in the commercial heart of the city near the Delaware River waterfront.  [For a picture of this district, see Abraham Ritter, Philadelphia and Her Merchants: As Constituted Fifty @ Seventy Years Ago ... (Philadelphia: Author, 1860),]  In 1813, he is recorded as a customer of the Weymouth Furnace in New Jersey, who cast stoves from his patterns (Pierce, Family Empire in Jersey Iron, p. 128 -- pp. 141-2 demonstrate that the business relationship lasted until at least 1819).  By 1816 he was described simply as "Smith &c.," selling wood stoves for $20 and providing a guarantee to replace them if their plates burnt out within a year ("Notes and Queries," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 28:2 [1904]: 236-53 at 240), and by 1820 his business name had become "& Son" and its description had changed to "Iron store and stove manuf[acturer]."  His son George was listed at the same address as a "Stove manuf[acturer].," and in 1823 he took out the family's first and only patent, 3751X, for a "Stove for Burning Stone-Coal" (anthracite).  By 1825 he had premises of his own at #111, a block away from his father's establishment.  Finally, by 1829, father and son had been joined by Henry (b. 1806, so he had recently attained his majority and, probably, completed his apprenticeship) at #189.  So I had my answer: the advertisement cannot have been any earlier than 1829, and probably a bit later, despite the very conservative product lines offered for sale, if the language that both brothers were "continuing to manufacture" means what it seems to.

My first trawl through the directories was a bit crude -- I did not look at all of them, just 1810, 1816 (there is no 1815 directory in the collection), 1820, 1825, and 1830, until I found both Fougeray brothers listed, and then back until I found the first reference.  But it was then tempting both to refine the search and to extend it -- refining by seeing that George had established in 1822 the business outpost later occupied by his brother, and that he and his father had also opened a separate "stove store" at 166 North Third in 1823, probably an indication of the growth of their business and the beginnings of a separation between making and selling; extending by looking at ALL entries for members of the stove trade, so as to enable me to place the Fougerays in their local context.

The results of this trawl are summed up in a spreadsheet, "The Philadelphia Stove Trade 1810-1830," available to view on Google Drive.  The way I compiled it was by searching out all entries for different kinds of stove makers and traders (the varying terminology used by artisans and businessmen to describe themselves is itself interesting) in the 1810, 1816, 1820, 1825, and 1830 directories, and tracking them both forwards and backwards -- i.e. if somebody (for example Henry Volkmar) showed up as a stove maker in 1816, 1820, and 1825, but not 1830, I looked to see what had become of him in 1830; and if somebody else only appeared to have entered the trade in 1825 (e.g. Henry Abbett), I tracked his career back over the previous fifteen years. Occupational or business descriptions highlighted in yellow are those most closely associated with the stove trade, and the ones from which most businessmen who eventually specialized in it were recruited -- in Philadelphia, generally blacksmiths, and smaller numbers of sheet-metal workers. Occupations highlighted in green are those allied with the stove trade, notably pattern making, where the careers of the two locally-born wood pattern makers, Isaac (or James) Deaves and Powell Stackhouse, can be tracked, as well as their English immigrant rival Robert Welford (see Mark Reinberger, Utility and Beauty: Robert Wellford and Composition Ornament in America [Newark: Univ. of Delaware Press, 2004] -- Wellford did business with the Fougerays, p. 43). Finally, those highlighted in light blue had no obvious connection with the stove trade, though there is in fact a logic to their inclusion here -- Barnard & Co. (plough makers) were the Philadelphia branch of the Delaware Furnace manager's own business; and Powell Stackhouse's journey toward specialization as a stove pattern maker led from his original craft (cabinet maker) via a period trading in a different class of household goods (as a china merchant), and even when he described himself as a pattern maker he was in fact also a large-scale trader in stoves.

Perhaps the key finding is the discovery, or at least detailing, of something I already knew about: the development of a distinct "stove district" in the city, shown here in a Google Map -- a clustering of makers, sellers, and associated trades mostly along a few blocks on Second Street, close to the waterfront where their heavy cargoes of stove plates arrived from the furnaces, which enabled them to take advantage of the "agglomeration economies" of doing the same business close to their suppliers, collaborators, and competitors.  How did I know about this stove district?  Largely because I had looked at the wonderful lithographs in the Wainwright Collection at the Library Company of Philadelphia, which showed the extent and appearance of the stove district by mid-century. 
These and other superb images are all easy enough to find: go to ImPac, the Library Company's catalogue of its digitized images, and search the "Philadelphia on Stone" collection using the keyword "stove."  The first five results are all on one page.  For the sixth, search all collections, not just "Philadelphia on Stone," and get more stove hits.

Other findings (or, better, confirmations) are:

(a) that most Philadelphia stove makers were recruited from the blacksmith's trade rather than from occupations or businesses more common elsewhere and a little later, notably hardware retailers and tinsmiths (see Elva Tooker, Nathan Trotter, Philadelphia Merchant, 1787-1853 [Cambridge: Harvard U.P., 1955], p. 123); and

(b) that the timing of the increase in the numbers of specialized stove makers and sellers took place precisely when expected, i.e. in the aftermath of the War of 1812, with its associated fuel crisis and postwar manufacturing boom, and alongside the rapid adoption by Philadelphia households of anthracite as their principal fuel in the mid- to late 1820s.  The number of artisans and businessmen describing themselves as "stove something" is almost certainly an undercount of the number of places from which Philadelphia consumers could buy stoves and grates, or where they could get them repaired -- many blacksmiths, tinsmiths, and other metal tradesmen participated in the trade in a small way -- but it is indicative of the growing importance of the business that increasing numbers of entrepreneurs specialized in it, and advertised the fact.
  • 1810: one stovesetter; 
  • 1816: the same, plus a stove smith, a stove maker, and a sheet iron and stove manufacturer, altogether four small enterprises; 
  • 1820: fourteen makers of stoves and in a few cases other related goods, plus a specialized stove pattern maker; 
  • 1825: seventeen makers and finishers; 
  • 1830: twenty-seven.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Andrew Jackson Downing, "The Favorite Poison of America," 1850

This is one of the most influential, or at least frequently cited and republished, anti-stove diatribes in ante-bellum America, from the celebrated horticulturist and architect Andrew Jackson Downing, "The Apostle of Taste" (or at least middle-class Yankee taste) -- David Schuyler, Apostle of Taste: Andrew Jackson Downing, 1815-1852 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U.P., 1996),  According to a eulogy after his untimely death by drowning following a steam-boat explosion on the Hudson, "This article, copied by numerous journals, read by thousands, and commending itself to their common sense, is fast producing a reform, conducive alike to health, comfort, and long life" -- i.e. the restoration of the open fire-place, or at least attention to the importance of ventilation.  ["Col. Wilder's Eulogy on Mr. Downing (pronounced before the Pomological Congress at Philadelphia, September 13, 1852," The Horticulturist, and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste 7:11 (1 Nov. 1852): 491-500 at p. 496.] 

-- 0 --

Andrew Jackson Downing, Rural Essays (New York: Leavitt & Allen, 1858),

XII. THE FAVORITE POISON OF AMERICA. November, 1850, pp. 278-286

[p. 278] ONE of the most complete and salutary reforms ever, perhaps, made in any country, is the temperance reform of the last fifteen years in the United States. Every body, familiar with our manners and customs fifteen or twenty years ago, very well knows that though our people were never positively intemperate, yet ardent spirits were, at that time, in almost as constant daily use, both in public and private life, as tea and coffee are now; while at the present moment, they are seldom or never offered as a means of civility or refreshment -- at least in the older States. The result of this higher civilization or temperance, as one may please to call it, is that a large amount of vice and crime have disappeared from amidst the laboring classes, while the physical as well as moral condition of those who labor too little to be able to bear intoxicating drinks, is very much improved.

We have taken this consolatory glance at this great and salutary reform of the habits of a whole country, because we need something to fortify our faith in the possibility of new reforms; for our countrymen have, within the last ten years, discovered a new poison, which is used wholesale, both in public and private, all over the country, till the national health and constitution are absolutely impaired by it.

"A national poison? Do you mean slavery, socialism, abolition, mormonism?" Nothing of the sort."Then, perhaps, tobacco, patent medicines, or coffee?" Worse than these. It is a foe more //p. 279 insidious than these; for, at least, one very well knows what one is about when he takes copious draughts of such things. Whatever his own convictions may be, he knows that some of his fellow creatures consider them deleterious.

But the national poison is not thought dangerous. Far from it. On the contrary, it is made almost synonymous with domestic comfort. Old and young, rich and poor, drink it in with avidity, and without shame. The most tender and delicate women and children are fondest of it, and become so accustomed to it, that they gradually abandon the delights of bright sunshine, and the pure air of heaven, to take it in large draughts. What matter if their cheeks become as pale as the ghosts of Ossian; if their spirits forsake them, and they become listless and languid! Are they not well housed and comfortable? Are not their lives virtuous, and their affairs prosperous? Alas, yes! But they are not the less guilty of poisoning themselves daily, though perhaps
unconscious of it all the time.

The national poison that we allude to, is nothing less than the vitiated air of close stoves, and the unventilated apartments which accompany them!

"Stoves" -- exclaim a thousand readers in the same breath -- "stoves poisonous? Nonsense! they are perfectly healthy, as well as the most economical, convenient, labor-saving, useful, and indispensable things in the world. Besides, are they not real Yankee inventions? In what country but this is there such an endless variety of stoves -- cooking stoves, hall stoves, parlor stoves, air-tight stoves, cylinders, salamanders, etc.? Why, it is absolutely the national invention -- this stove -- the most useful result of universal Yankee ingenuity."

We grant it all, good friends and readers; but must also have our opinion -- our calmly considered and carefully matured opinion --  which is nothing more nor less than this, that stoves -- as now used  --  are the national curse; the secret poisoners of that blessed air, bestowed by kind Providence as an elixir of life, -- giving us new vigor and fresh energy at every inspiration; and we, ungrateful beings, as if the pure breath of heaven were not fit for us, we reject it, and breathe instead -- what? -- the air which passes over a surface //p. 280 of hot iron, and becomes loaded with all the vapor of arsenic and sulphur, which that metal, highly heated, constantly gives off!

If in the heart of large cities -- where there is a large population crowded together, with scanty means of subsistence -- one saw a few persons driven by necessity into warming their small apartments by little close stoves of iron, liable to be heated red-hot, and thereby to absolutely destroy the purity of the air, one would not be so much astonished at the result, because it is so difficult to preserve the poorest class from suffering, in some way or other, in great cities. But it is by no means only in the houses of those who have slender means of subsistence, that this is the case. It is safe to say that nine-tenths of all the houses in the northern States, whether belonging to rich or poor, are entirely unventilated, and heated at the present moment by close stoves

It is absolutely a matter of preference on the part of thousands, with whom the trifling difference between one mode of heating and another is of no account. Even in the midst of the country, where there is still wood in abundance, the farmer will sell that wood and buy coal, so that he may have a little demon -- alias a black, cheerless close stpve -- in the place of that genuine, hospitable, wholesome friend and comforter, an open wood fireplace.

And in order not to leave one unconverted soul in the wilderness, the stove inventors have lately brought out "a new article," for forest countries, where coal is not to be had either for love or barter -- an "air-tight stove for burning wood." The seductive, convenient, monstrous thing! "It consumes one-fifth of the fuel which was needed by the open chimney -- is so neat and clean, makes no dust, and gives no trouble." All quite true, dear, considerate housewife -- all quite true; but that very stove causes your husband to pay twice its savings to the family doctor before two winters are past, and gives you thrice as much trouble in nursing the sick in your family, as you formerly spent in taking care of the fire in your chimney corner, --  besides depriving you of the most delightful of all household occupations.

Our countrymen generally have a vast deal of national pride, and national sensitiveness, and we honor them for it. It is the warp and woof, out of which the stuff of national improvement is woven, //p. 281 When a nation has become quite indifferent as to what it has done, or can do, then there is nothing left but for its prophets to utter lamentations over it.

Now there is a curious but indisputable fact (somebody must say it), touching our present condition and appearance, as a nation of men, women and children, in which we Americans compare most unfavorably with the people of Europe, and especially with those of northern Europe -- England and France, for example. It is neither in religion or morality, law or liberty. In these great essentials, every American feels that his country is the birthplace of a larger number of robust and healthy souls than any other. But in the bodily condition, the signs of physical health, and all that constitutes the outward aspect of the men and women of the United States, our countrymen, and especially countrywomen, compare most unfavorably with all but the absolutely starving classes, on the other side of the Atlantic. So completely is this the fact, that, though we are unconscious of it at home, the first thing (especially of late years) which strikes an American, returning from abroad, is the pale and sickly countenances of his friends, acquaintances, and almost every one he meets in the streets of large towns, -- every other man looking as if he had lately recovered from a fit of illness. The men look so pale and the women so delicate, that his eye, accustomed to the higher hues of health, and the more vigorous physical condition of transatlantic men and women, scarcely credits the assertion of old acquaintances, when they assure him that they were "never better in their lives."

With this sort of impression weighing disagreeably on our mind, on returning from Europe lately, we fancied it worth our while to plunge two hundred or three hundred miles into the interior of the State of New-York. It would be pleasant, we thought, to see, not only the rich forest scenery opened by the new railroad to Lake Erie, but also (for we felt confident they were there) some good, hearty, fresh-looking lads and lasses among the farmers' sons and daughters.

We were for the most part disappointed. Certainly the men, especially the young men, who live mostly in the open air, are healthy and robust. But the daughters of the farmers -- they are as //p. 282 delicate and pale as lilies of the valley, or fine ladies of the Fifth Avenue. If one catches a glimpse of a rose in their cheeks, it is the pale rose of the hot-house, and not the fresh glow of the garden damask. Alas, we soon discovered the reason. They, too, live for seven months of the year in unventilated rooms, heated by close stoves! The fireplaces are closed up, and ruddy complexions have vanished with them. Occasionally, indeed, one meets with an exception; some bright-eyed, young, rustic Hebe, whose rosy cheeks and round, elastic figure would make you believe that the world has not all grown "delicate;" and if you inquire, you will learn, probably, that she is one of those whose natural spirits force them out continually, in the open air, so that she has, as yet, in that way escaped any considerable doses of the national poison.

Now that we are fairly afloat on this dangerous sea, we must unburthen our heart sufficiently to say, that neither in England nor France does one meet with so much beauty -- certainly not, so far as charming eyes and expressive faces go towards constituting beauty  --  as in America. But alas, on the other hand, as compared with the elastic figures and healthful frames abroad, American beauty is as evanescent as a dissolving view, contrasting with a real and living landscape. What is with us a sweet dream, from sixteen to twenty-five, is there a permanent reality till forty-five or fifty.

We should think it might be a matter of climate, were it not that we saw, as the most common thing, even finer complexions in France -- yes, in the heart of Paris, and especially among the peasantry, who are almost wholly in the open air -- than in England. And what, then, is the mystery of fine physical health, which is so much better understood in the old world than the new?

The first transatlantic secret of health, is a much longer time passed daily in the open air, by all classes of people; the second, the better modes of heating and ventilating the rooms in which they live.

Regular daily exercise in the open air, both as a duty and a pleasure, is something looked upon in a very different light on the two different sides of the Atlantic. On this side of the water, if a person -- say a professional man, or a merchant -- is seen regularly devoting a certain portion of the day to exercise, and the preservation of 'his bodily powers, he is looked upon as a valetudinarian, --  //p. 283 an invalid, who is obliged to take care of himself, poor soul! and his friends daily meet him with sympathizing looks, hoping he "feels better," etc. As for ladies, if there is not some object in taking a walk, they look upon it as the most stupid and unmeaning thing in the world.

On the other side of the water, a person who should neglect the pleasure of breathing the free air for a couple of hours, daily, or should shun the duty of exercise, is suspected of slight lunacy; and ladies who should prefer continually to devote their leisure to the solace of luxurious cushions, rather than an exhilarating ride or walk, are thought a little tˆte mont. What, in short, is looked upon as a virtue there, is only regarded as a matter of fancy here. Hence, an American generally shivers, in an air that is only grateful and bracing to an Englishman, and looks blue in Paris, in weather when the Parisians sit with the casement windows of their saloons wide open. Yet it is, undoubtedly, all a matter of habit; and we Yankees, (we mean those of us not forced to "rough it,") with the toughest natural constitutions in the world, nurse ourselves, as a people, into the least robust and most susceptible physiques in existence.

So much for the habit of exercise in the open air. Now let us look at our mode of warming and ventilating our dwellings; for it is here that the national poison is engendered, and here that the ghostly expression is begotten.

However healthy a person may be, he can neither look healthy nor remain in sound health long, if he is in the habit of breathing impure air. As sound health depends upon pure blood, and there can be no pure blood in one's veins if it is not repurified continually by the action of pure air upon it, through the agency of the lungs (the whole purpose of breathing being to purify and vitalize the blood ), it follows, that if a nation of people will, from choice, live in badly ventilated rooms, nil! of impure air, they must become pale and sallow in complexions. It may not largely affect the health of the men, who are more or less called into the open air by their avocations, but the health of women (ergo the constitutions of children), and all those who are confined to rooms or offices heated in this way, must gradually give way under the influence of the poison. Hence, the delicacy of thousands and tens of thousands of the sex in America.

p. 284 "And how can you satisfy me," asks some blind lover of stoves," that the air of a room heated by a close stove is deleterious? " Very easily indeed, if you will listen to a few words of reason.

It is well established that a healthy man must have about a pint of air at a breath; that he breathes above a thousand times in an hour; and that, as a matter beyond dispute, he requires about fifty-seven hogsheads of air in twenty four hours.

Besides this, it is equally well settled, that as common air consists of a mixture of two gases, one healthy (oxygen), and the other unhealthy (nitrogen), the air we have once breathed, having, by passing through the lungs, been deprived of the most healthful gas, is little less than unmixed poison (nitrogen).

Now, a room warmed by an open fireplace or grate, is necessarily more or less ventilated, by the very process of combustion going on; because, as a good deal of the air of the room goes up the chimney, besides the smoke and vapor of the fire, a corresponding amount of fresh air comes in at the windows and door crevices to supply its place. The room, in other words, is tolerably well supplied with fresh air for breathing.

But let us take the case of a room heated by a close stove. The chimney is stopped up, to begin with. The room is shut up. The windows are made pretty tight to keep out the cold; and as there is very little air carried out of the room by the stove-pipe, (the stove is perhaps on the air-tight principle, -- that is, it requires the minimum amount of air,) there is little fresh air coming in through the crevices to supply any vacuum. Suppose the room holds 300 hogsheads of air. If a single person requires 57 hogsheads of fresh air per day, it would last four persons but about twenty-four hours, and the stove would require half as much more. But, as a man renders noxious as much again air as he expires from his lungs, it actually happens that in four or five hours all the air in this room has been either breathed over, or is so mixed with the impure air which has been breathed over, that it is all thoroughly poisoned, and unfit for healthful respiration. A person with his senses un-blunted, has only to go into an ordinary unventilated room, heated by a stove, to perceive at once, by the effect on the lungs, how dead, stifled, and destitute of all elasticity the air is.

p. 285 And this is the air which four-fifths of our countrymen and countrywomen breathe in their homes,-not from necessity, but from choice.*

This is the air which those who travel by hundreds of thousands in our railroad cars, closed up in winter, and heated with close stoves, breathe for hours -- or often entire days. **

This is the air which fills the cabins of closely packed steamboats, always heated by large stoves, and only half ventilated; the air breathed by countless numbers -- both waking or sleeping.

This is the air -- no, this is even salubrious compared with the air -- that is breathed by hundreds and thousands in almost all our crowded lecture-rooms, concert-rooms, public halls, and private assemblies, all over the country. They are nearly all heated by stoves or furnaces, with very imperfect ventilation, or no ventilation at all.

Is it too much to call it the national poison, this continual atmosphere of close stoves, which, whether travelling or at home, we Americans are content to breathe, as if it were the air of Paradise?

We very well know that we have a great many readers who abominate stoves, and whose houses are warmed and ventilated in an excellent manner. But. they constitute no appreciable fraction of the vast portion of our countrymen who love stoves -- fill their houses with them -- are ignorant of their evils, and think ventilation and fresh air physiological chimeras, which may be left to the speculations of doctors and learned men.

* We have said that the present generation of stove-reared farmers' daughters are pale and delicate in appearance. We may add that the most healthy and blooming looking American women, are those of certain families where exercise, and fresh air, and ventilation, are matters of conscience and duty here as in Europe.

** Why the ingenuity of clever Yankees has not been directed to warming railroad cars (by means of steam conveyed through metal tubes, running under the floor, and connected with flexible coupling pipes,) we cannot well understand. It would be at once cheaper than the present mode, (since waste steam could be used,) and far more wholesome. Railroad cars have, it is true, ventilators at the top for the escape of foul air, but no apertures in the floor for the inlet of fresh air! It is like emptying a barrel without a vent.

p. 286 And so, every other face that one meets in America, has a ghostly paleness about it, that would make a European stare.*

What is to be done? "Americans will have stoves." They suit the country, especially the new country; they are cheap, labor-saving, clean. If the more enlightened and better informed throw them aside, the great bulk of the people will not. Stoves are, we are told, in short, essentially democratic and national.

We answer, let us ventilate our rooms, and learn to live more in the open air. If our countrymen will take poison in, with every breath which they inhale in their houses and all their public gatherings, let them dilute it largely, and they may escape from a part at least of the evils of taking it in such strong doses.

We have not space here to show in detail the best modes of ventilating now in use. But they may be found described in several works, especially devoted to the subject, published lately. In our volume on COUNTRY HOUSES, we have briefly shown, not only the principles of warming rooms, but the most simple and complete modes of ventilation, -- from Arnott's chimney valve, which may for a small cost be easily placed in the chimney flue of any room, to Emerson's more complete apparatus, by which the largest apartments, or every room in the largest house, may be warmed and ventilated at the same time, in the most complete and satisfactory manner.

We assure our readers that we are the more in earnest upon this subject, because they are so apathetic. As they would shake a man about falling into that state of delightful numbness which precedes freezing to death, all the more vigorously in proportion to his own indifference and unconsciousness to his sad state, so we are the more emphatic in what we have said, because we see the national poison begins to work, and the nation is insensible.

Pale countrymen and countrywomen, rouse yourselves! Consider that GOD has given us an atmosphere of pure, salubrious, health-giving air, 45 miles high, and -- ventilate your houses.

* We ought not, perhaps, to include the Germans and Russians. They also love stoves, and the poison of bad air indoors, and therefore have not the look of health of other European nations, though they live far more in the open air than we do.

-- 0 -- 

Downing evidently lived according to his own precepts.  As a visitor to his celebrated country house at Newburgh, NY, recalled, "In the winter the family forsook the fine south room, which, on account of its size was not easily warmed, and lived in the library, which, with its cheerful fire and books and busts, became the gathering point of the household, and the chosen seat of the winter's evening mirth and daily study."  Even in his office Downing enjoyed the luxury of "the bright wood fire [which] warms body and soul with its crackling flames." He believed "that men in America are too much absorbed in business, and make it too unlovely.  American men in cities, and those in the country who are not in the open air when at their work, labor from sunrise to sunset in ugly, dark, ill-ventilated rooms, stewing their minds over interminable rows of figures, and their bodies over unhealthy stoves and so year after year until the day is past for the active enjoyment of their money, and the long abused body takes its fair revenge."  [C.C., "A Visit to the House and Garden of the Late A.J. Downing," The Horticulturist, and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste vol. 3 n.s., no. 1 (Jan. 1853), pp. 21-27 at p. 21, and reminiscences of Downing in "Editor's Table," pp. 103-4 at p. 103,].  Downing was not an anti-modernist.  He just hated stoves, and was an enthusiast for a more modern (and expensive) form of space heating than the common air-tight or even the basement furnace, by steam or hot water piped from a boiler or perhaps from the waste heat of a kitchen stove -- "Warming & Ventilating Houses," The Horticulturist, and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste 7:5 (1 May 1852): 217-8.