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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Nation of Stoves, Chapter 2 -- The Winning of the North East, c. 1815-1825

This is basically just a continuation of Chapter 1 -- many of the same themes, so a bit of a danger of plonking repetition and a sense of a very pedestrian plod through the decades, but some development and in any event too much material to have been able or willing to squeeze the two together.

Another one-paragraph Introduction, and then:

  • 2.1. New York Joins the Stove Region -- the first and most important extension of the market area, but could equally well have been in Ch. 1 as its focus is mostly 1790s-1810s 
  • 2.2 Warmth and Worship -- again, picking up a theme from Ch. 1, but exploring it in more depth: the heating of churches and meeting houses as evidence for changes in northern Americans' habits and expectations about comfort, and as something getting them familiar with the idea of stove heating.  See this blog post for the single most interesting source I came about that illuminated this process.
  • 2.3 Stoves and the State -- the protection of stoves by state law from seizure for debt as evidence of their growing importance.
  • 2.4 The Public Stove -- stoves in schools and colleges, prisons, hospitals, asylums, and workhouses; the Reverend Dr Eliphalet Nott, president of Union College and stove pioneer, introduced.  See this recent blog post for pictures of stoves in other public places in the early nineteenth century.
  • 2.5 Into the Mainstream of Northern Culture -- quantitative (not much) and qualitative (nice -- poems, stories, speeches) evidence about the increasing acceptance of stoves, a quiet argument against Patricia Brewer's emphasis on cultural ambivalence (or even hostility) towards the new technology.
  • 2.6 Inventing the Cooking Stove -- the 9- and 10-plate, and then the work of three Hudson Valley inventors and makers (Charles Postley, William James, Christopher Hoxie) in the late 'teens / early 'twenties.  See this blog post about some of them and their competitors.
  • 2.7 Opening the Channels of Trade -- the growth of a stove distribution network, from Philadelphia to New York, Boston, and other seaboard towns and cities.  See this blog post for Philadelphia, and soon this one too, for New York.  This section amplifies points I made in my "Conquering Winter" and "Inventing the U.S. Stove Industry" articles, but with a lot more evidence than I had when I wrote them.  John Conant and the beginning of large-scale stove-making in the New England back country (Brandon, VT).  The Philadelphia region as the continuing center of stove production and trade through the early 1830s. 
  • Appendix: Cooking and Heating Appliances -- The Second Quarter-Century of Stove Invention. A detailed tabulation of where, when, and to some extent from whom the growing number of stove patents came.  This stuff, like the similar but much smaller section in Chapter 1, comes from my database of stove patents, 1790-, one of my key research tools. 


  • The full text of the Chapter.
  • The Bibliography -- this is new, and currently pretty rough, but it lists all of the sources, primary and secondary, cited in the text, and provides web links to copies, if available.  In due course I might integrate these into the text, but that's a long-term, rainy-day project.  In the meantime, this will serve.

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