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Friday, August 29, 2014

New York City Stove Inventors & Their Inventions, 1795-1855, Part 1: 1795-1836

[In progress, 29 August 2014- & recently (16 Jan. 2015) resumed after a layoff since September.  When I put it to one side, it was almost complete to 1837, and semi-complete to 1850, i.e. it had the raw data but needed editing. However, my efforts last night resulted in a meltdown and loss of an evening's work, so I am going to chop this blog in two at 1836, the end of one sequence of patents and the beginning of another.]

This is an offshoot of my "Rise of the New York Stove Trade" post, where I was struck, but not surprised, by the number of the city's stove makers and sellers who made use of the US patent system. I already knew how important patents were to the stove business, and also how large a proportion of American patents in the early nineteenth century were contributed by inventors of what they thought of as new and improved cooking and heating devices.  I also knew that New York City was a significant place of stove invention, as well as (really, because it was) the largest single market.  But I had never had reason to look systematically and in some detail at the city's record of stove invention.

{more on & from the scholarly literature on "democratic invention" -- Khan, Sokoloff, Lamoreaux}

I will start with the first forty years of New York stove inventors and inventions, mostly because it always makes sense to begin at the beginning, but also because it won't take too long.  In 1836 an enormous fire consumed the US Patent Office and most of the nearly ten thousand records that it contained.  Patentees were invited to help reconstruct the lost files, and thereby protect their valuable intellectual property, but the proportion of patents that were or could be restored was not high.  As a result, for 50 of the first 68 stove patents taken out by New York inventors all we have, in most cases, are the bare bones -- number, name, title, patentee, etc.  I have added to these from city directories (and some other sources), which provide at least two items of significant information about most patentees: where they lived and/or carried on their business; and, more important, their trade or occupation. The latter is crucial: what it tells us is that stove patentees were mostly practical men, closely connected with the stove business or those parts of the metal trades closest to it.  This is entirely unsurprising, and quite consistent with what the best of the scholarly literature tells us about the era of "democratic invention" in the United States.

* * *   

[1808 Directory ]

Youle, John. Construction of a Cabouse (caboose).  Number 96X, 1795. 

Youle, George. Cabouse. Number 675X, 1806.

The Youles (for whom see "The Rise of the New York Stove Trade" and "Cabouse, Cambosse, Cambouse, Camboose, Caboose") probably deserve to be thought of as the founders of the New York stove trade, in which they remained active between the mid-1790s and the mid-1820s.  John Youle went into partnership with the iron founder Paul A. Sabbaton, who had been general superintendent of Youle's works since 1810, by 1823, making and selling cabouses from their premises at 264 Water Street, but by 1825 seems to have died or retired from business.  George was still trading from 296 Water Street in 1827, but by the mid-1830s he too had disappeared.  However, his name and his stoves were still present: in 1835 and 1836, two other firms, Austin Packard & Co., Youle & Sabbaton's successors at 264 Water Street, and Charles Postley (see below) at 260-262 next door, still identified themselves in the city directory as makers of George Youle's Cabouses.

Youle, George. Caboose Stove apparatus for cooking and distilling, &c. Number 690X, 1806.

Youle, George. Caboose Cooking Stove. Number 742X, 1807.

Poudrell, Joseph. Economical Furnace or Stove. Number 844X, 1808 -- described in the 1808 City Directory as a "patent stove maker."

Youle, George. Caboose. Number 1112X, 1809.

Sherwood, A. (probably Andrew). Kitchen Stove. Number 1495X, 1811.

Sherwood, A. Drum Cooking Stove. Number 1497X, 1811 -- Andrew Sherwood was a turner (machinist) and pattern maker living on Spring Street in 1812.

[1812 Directory]

Power, T. Stove. Number 1583X, 1811 -- the only Power in the 1812 Directory was partner in a firm of auctioneers and furniture dealers with premises on Wall and Park Streets.  There were two men called Thomas Powers, one with no stated business or occupation living on William Street, the other a mason living on Beach Street on the West Side. 

Hunt, C. Grate. Number 1686X, 1812 -- Charles Hunt, a brassfounder, lived at 117 Elm Street.  

[1813 Directory]

Postley, Charles. Cooking and Heating Stove. Number 2074X, 1814 -- see below.

Youle, George. Moveable Kitchen. Number 2160X, 1814.


Postley, Charles. Reservoir Cooking Stove. Number 2297X, 1815. Class 126/1R.

This is the very first restored patent.  Why?  

  • Perhaps because Postley was still actively involved in the trade in the late 1830s, while none of the other early New York stove patentees was similarly connected by then.
  • The fact that he considered it worth restoring, despite the fact that by the late 1830s it was no longer current, may have been because of its fundamental importance.  It was the first patent for a stove with a single downdraft flue, i.e. the gaseous combustion products ("smoke") wrapped around the oven, improving the distribution of heat within it and, at least in intention, and perhaps in effect, increasing the stove's efficiency (the amount of usable heat created by burning a given quantity of fuel).  
  • Postley may simply have been particularly proud of this invention; or he may have calculated that, by restoring his patent, he was preventing anybody else from claiming that they had invented the single downdraft flue in a new patent filing themselves, confident that nobody could produce conclusive documentary evidence to disprove them.  Postley's restored patent guaranteed that this fundamental design feature was demonstrable "prior art" in the trade, and not capable of forming the basis of any future patent claim. 

The fact that Postley's patent survives means that it is the first one we can access through the US Patent and Trademark Office's wonderful website, at, the source of the illustration at the head of this entry.   

Postley's stove came in two configurations.  Both of them were plain, unadorned, slab-sided boxes, with no attempt at elegance except for the claw-footed cabriole legs they sat on.

  • The first was basically a variation on the standard Pennsylvania nine- or ten-plate stove (for which see "A Collection of Stoves from American Museums, I: Plate Stoves") with a small warming oven behind the firebox A, and two cooking holes E in the bottom of the oven D, into which two cooking vessels F could be placed -- an inconvenient arrangement which did not take.  There were tiny holes a in the top of the small and large ovens, to deal with the common criticism of baking or 'roasting' things in closed iron ovens, that steam could not escape and whatever was cooked could not 'breathe' as it did over an open fire.  The downdraft flue was at the front of the oven, to make sure that it was wrapped in heat on all sides.
  • The second configuration is the one that worked and sold.  It had a single oven B that was c. 6-9" high, 15-24" long, and 8-12" deep, "surrounded with heat" which was "more uniform ... than other stoves."  The stove was more convenient than a nine- or ten-plate, because the flue gases escaped up the chimney through a pipe collar at the back of the top plate, not the front. There were three cooking holes in the top plate, so that the bottoms of cooking vessels sat either straight over the fire (F) or right in the current of "smoke" when it was at its hottest.  The smoke went down the back of the oven and under its bottom plate, then along the bottom of the stove and up the rear.    

The stove's advantages were that "Roasting, Baking, and Boiling" could all be carried out at the same time, and to do this it "d[id] not consume more than one half the wood that common baking does, a boiler containing from 8 to 12 quarts will boil in 15 minutes ... and the grate (sic) advantage is that their price is within the reach of the poor in general, so as they can save the one half the fuel and keep their families more comfortable, some of those gentlemen that have them now in use say they do not consume more than one quarter of a cord of wood in a Winter month with an advantage of doing all their cooking and washing with the small fire." 

Postley's witnesses were Gilbert Heard and another whose name is indecipherable. There is no Gilbert Heard in the 1813, 1815, or 1823 Directories, but James and Nicholas Heard were Pearl Street merchants.

[For Postley and his stoves, see also the post "(Some of) The First Stove Advertisements in America."]


Lane, A. Stove. Number 2306X, 1815 -- not in the Directory.

Graham, J. Economical Stove. Number 2401X, 1815 -- there were numerous J. (James, John, Joseph) Grahams in the 1815 Directory, but my money would be on John Graham, a tinplate worker living on Greenwich St.

Seger, John. Family Cooking Machine. Number 2402X, 1815 -- a coppersmith at 248 Water Street.

Liebenau, H.F. Stove. Number 2667X, 1816 -- there was a Henry F. Libeneau, perruquier (wig-maker), at 38 Vesey Street.

Detroismonts, L.D. Construction of Chimneys, Stoves, and Fire-places. Number 2770X, 1817 -- not in the Directory.

Simpson, J.P. Stove. Number 2771X, 1817 -- Joseph P. Simpson had hardware stores at 139 Cherry Street and 5 The Bowery in 1815.  By 1823 he was "City Sealer" and also ran a stove manufactory at 17 The Bowery.  He was still in the stove business, at different addresses on Fulton, Greenwich, and Water Streets, in 1834-1836.  (See spreadsheet.)

Phoebus, W. Collecting, Regulating, and Retaining Heat in Stoves. Number 2874X, 1817 -- The Reverend William Phoebus lived at 7 Second Street.

Hunter, William T. Perpetual Oven. Number 2890X, 1818 -- Hunter was a baker, living on Front Street and with premises on Pine and Depeyster Streets.

Mount, R. & Mount, J. Stove. Number 2937X, 1818 -- Robert Mount had copper stores on Barclay and Vesey Streets; John Mount was a Water Street tinman.

Lane, A. Stove. Number 3000X, 1818.

Youle, George. Fire-hearth Range or Galley. Number 3087X, 1819.

Wilcox, Richard. Portable Rotary Oven. Number 3198X, 1820 -- not in 1815 or 1823 Directories.

Berrian, Richard & Class, Francis. Circular Open Stove or Fire-place. Number 3230X, 1820 -- Francis Class had a tin and hardware store on Chatham Street in 1823.  There were two Richard Berrians, only one of them (Richard P., Chamber St.) with a stated occupation, shipmaster.

Graham, C.M. Fire Grate Called Caloret. Number 3400X, 1821 -- the only C. Graham in the 1823 Directory was an attorney with an office on William Street.

[1823 Longworth Directory & Commercial Directory]

Wilson, James. Making Franklin and Cooking Stoves. Number 3830X, 1824 -- for Wilson, see the posts "(Some of) The First Stove Advertisements in America,"  "The Rise of the New York Stove Trade," and "Cabouse, Cambosse, Cambouse, Camboose, Caboose."  Wilson had an earlier stove patent, the first for a Franklin Stove, Number X2450 (1816), taken out while he was still a merchant in Poughkeepsie.  For Wilson Franklins, see "A Collection of Stoves from American Museums, Part II: Franklins."

James, William T. Sink or Box-Hearth for Stoves. Number 3854X, 1824 -- for James, see also "(Some of) The First Stove Advertisements in America."  

James, like Wilson, was an out-of-towner with a more significant earlier invention, the saddlebags cooking stove, Number X2296 (1815), made when he resided in Union Village, a small community now part of Greenwich, NY, 200 miles north up the Hudson.  By 1823, and probably earlier, he had moved himself and his principal place of business to New York City, but retained a presence in the upstate market with a "factory" in Troy, and (through his partner Cornell) also had a distribution base in Boston.  James's sons Alanson and John were still in the New York City stove business in their father's old premises at 295 Water Street until the mid-1840s, but William himself had moved into the foundry and machine-building trade by the mid-1830s. 

The "sink or box-hearth" became a standard feature of stoves, whose makers used, copied, or generally just ignored James's patent, perhaps because it was not really an invention of his at all but more a matter of his being the first person to patent something that was already commonplace.  Basically it was a recess extending from below the firebox right under the front hearth of a stove, into which ashes fell.  A removable cover plate in the hearth allowed the ashes to be shovelled out more easily and with less dust and fire risk than if they had to be taken out via the stove's main front door.   

[1825 Directory]

Woodruff, O. Anthracite Coal Furnace. Number 4253X, 1825 -- Oliver Woodruff was a Pearl Street merchant, and the only O. Woodruff in the 1825 Directory, which is not to say that he was necessarily this O. Woodruff.  The significance of this patent is that it was the first one in New York for an appliance to burn the new wonder fuel, Pennsylvania anthracite, which was hardly available in the New York market at this time.  (See "A Nation of Stoves, Chapter 4: The Coming of Anthracite, c. 1820-1840.")  But as the patent is lost we cannot tell what sort of "furnace" he had designed to burn it, or for what purposes.

Sullivan, J.L. Anthracite Coal Furnace. Number 4276X, 1825.  The three John Sullivans in the 1825 and 1826 Directories were two laborers living on Pearl and Water Streets and a mason, but there was also Jeremiah, a grocer, on Catharine Street.  None of them has a clarifying middle initial or anything else to explain why they might have been the J.L. who followed Woodruff's lead in trying to devise an anthracite furnace. 

[1826 Directory]

Mott, Stephen C. & Holmes, William. Grate and Blower for Coal. Number 4589X, 1826 -- Mott & Holmes were partners in a grate-making business at 197 Grand Street:  Mott was a brassfounder, Holmes a "whitesmith" (sheet-metal worker).  A "blower" was a plate placed in a fireplace to restrict the draft and assist ignition. Anthracite was particularly difficult to kindle in a conventional fireplace, so the attention to "blowers" in 1826 and 1827 points to grate-makers' attempts to modify their appliances for the new fuel.

[1827 Directory &]

Westerfield, David. Cooking Apparatus. Number 4717X, 1827 -- a David Westerfield was a mason, at 560 Pearl St.  It would make sense for a mason to be involved in designing built-in or brick-set kitchen ranges, as installation was part of their business and needed their craft's skills.  

Fuller, R. & Thomas, T. Coal-Grate Blower. Number 4765X, 1827 -- there were five Thomas Thomases in the 1827 Directory, but the most likely ran a kitchen furniture warehouse at 63 Nassau.  Robert Fuller, who lived next door, was his partner in a firm of gratemakers, Fuller & Thomas.

Hedenberg, Francis L. Portable Oven. Number 5085X, 1828 -- Hedenberg was a tinsmith at 386 Cherry Street, and still in the stove business three decades later.


Naylor, William. Stove. Number 5515X, 1829 -- Naylor was a tinsmith of 232 Church Street.  Another Naylor, Peter, followed the same trade at the corner of Broad and Water.  Though his patent neither survived the 1836 Fire nor was restored after it, it was considered sufficiently interesting and valuable to be included in the monthly summary of patents by the editor of Philadelphia's Franklin Institute, Thomas Jones.  As there was then no official publication detailing US patents, the Franklin Journal was the most important way in which this information became available to other inventors and manufacturers. 

Thomas P. Jones, "For an Improvement in Stoves; William Naylor, New York, June 11," in "American Patents. List of American Patents Granted in June, 1829. With Remarks and Exemplifications, by the Editor," Journal of the Franklin Institute Vol. 4:3 (n.s.) (Sept. 1829), pp. 169-94 at pp. 180-181.   

p. 180 This stove is formed in front like a parlour grate, for an open fire, and is to be used with any kind of coal, or with wood; anthracite coal being preferred. Behind the fire there is an oven, boilers, and //p. 181 other appendages, arranged after the manner of a ship's camboose. The whole seems to us to be compact and well arranged; its appearance, as represented in the drawing, is handsome; its parts, however, are too numerous for verbal description.     

Several very excellent cooking stoves have been invented in New York, and this, we think, will add one to the list.

There is a picture of a later model of it in the report on the "Seventh Annual Fair of the  American Institute, Held at Niblo's Gardens, October, 1834," Mechanics' Magazine, and Register of Inventions and Improvements 4:4 (25 Oct. 1834): 241-52 at p. 244.  

As we can see, it is a free-standing device with a coal grate and a front decorated with standard Federal Period motifs.  The smoke pipe was attached at the front, above the mantel, and the oven and boilers were accessed from the side, which cannot have been very convenient.  This stove could only have sat in an existing kitchen fireplace if the alcove was both deep and wide.  Even so, Naylor's was one of the best "oven Franklin" stoves available in the city in the late 1820s and early 1830s, winning a second premium at the 1834 American Institute Fair.  

Note the prominence of the maker's name, and the announcement that this was a patent device, on the oven door: marking goods in this way became standard practice, and testifies to the value for marketing their wares that makers put on the possession of a patent.  Patents, like prizes at manufacturers' fairs, gave customers some reassurance that, in an environment where the technology of cooking and heating appliances was quite new, unfamiliar, and fast-changing, and the market was increasingly crowded by competing makers and their claims, they could at least identify the best. 


Schermerhorn, C. Coal Cooking Stove. Number 5544X, 1829 -- there is nobody of this name in the 1827 or 1834 Directories, but other Schermerhorns were ship chandlers on South and Washington, or merchants on Broome, South, and Water streets.   


Davis, William & Lord, R.W. Coal [Anthracite] Cooking Stove. Number 5722X, 1829. Class 126/31.

There are too many William Davises in the 1827 and 1834 Directories for a confident identification to be possible, though the William Davis who was a smith at 278 Bowery and 222 Elizabeth is the best bet, and no R.W. Lord. However, in compensation, we have both pictures and a description for their device, which seems to have been more ingenious than practical, with only a small oven and just a single, awkwardly placed and shaped, cooking hole.  

Like a number of early patents, the US PTO archive and website only has the drawings for this stove, not the text.  However, the stove was described in the Franklin Institute's patent reviews, which quoted from the now-lost document: 

The fire is made in an open grate, with the bars formed in the usual way. The ends and flue part, or throat, above the grate, are of cast iron. The grate slides in, so that the fire stands under an oven, which oven allows the heated air to circulate round it. When fuel is put on the grate, it must be drawn forward. Behind the oven is a box, forming part of the flue, with openings for boilers, &c. "The whole is mounted on scroll legs, on the inside of which, and at the bottom of the grate, are flanches supporting a sliding pan, or hearth, to receive the ashes."

[Thomas P. Jones], "American Patents. List of American Patents Granted in November, 1829. With Remarks and Exemplifications, by the Editor," Journal of the Franklin Institute 5:2 (Feb. 1830): 126-140 at p. 136,

The drawings make these and other features quite clear.  There is also a James-style box hearth, for the ashes.  The stove was partly cast iron and partly wrought, which would make sense if Davis were indeed a smith.


Jennings, Joseph. Cooking Apparatus. Number 5961X, 1830. Class 126/"1/1".

There was a moulder of this name living at 70 Walnut Street in the 1835 Directory, and a person running a Free Emigrants' Office at 46 Waverly the previous year. But they were not necessarily the same man, and neither may have been the Joseph Jennings who patented this attractive brick-set cooking range, which doubled as a hot-air furnace for warming the upper rooms of a building.  

Jennings may have thought that this was an original idea, and the Patent Office accepted his claim, but in fact Oliver Evans of Philadelphia had had it first, put it into practice, and published it in his Young Mill-Wright's and Miller's Guide more than thirty years earlier, and Samuel Dickey of Chester County had then patented it himself in 1806.  (See "(Some of) The First Stove Advertisements in America.") This just goes to show how fragile patentees' claims to originality often were, and why a patent claim needed to be tested in court in order to be enforced.


Haggerty, William A. & Lawrence, C. Portable Cooking-Furnace. Number 5988X, 1830 -- Haggerty was a furnacemaker living on the corner of Gouverneur and Cherry streets, who remained in that business, at almost the same address, between his first appearance in 1834 and his last in 1848.  There is no obvious candidate for C. Lawrence.  


Disbrow, Levi. Kitchen Grate. Number 6255X, 1830. Class 126/147.

Levi Disbrow was in business with his sons in 1834-1836 at 66 Bleecker Street as "Machinists & water borers: kitchen grate manufacturers, and tin & iron plate workers," and had invented what he called the "Jackson Grate, or Kitchen Range." As we can see, this was just a large, traditional cooking fireplace with an inset wrought-iron grate for coal and a swinging crane for moving cooking pots over the coals. It claimed to be "a sovereign remedy for smoky chimneys where anthracite coal is used" and also to be fuel-saving, because only one or two sections of the grate could be used if a smaller fire than the full three baskets would do the jobs required. 


Roe, S.C. Conical Stove. Number 6404X, 1831 -- a Stephen C. Roe, MD, lived at 315 Fourth in 1834.

Tuthill, D.L. Furnace for Heating Hatters' Irons. Number 6831X, 1831 -- Daniel L. Tuthill was a hatter, at 202 Chambers in 1834.  His invention illustrates the way in which the use of heat in manufacturing processes led artisans other than metalworkers to experiment with developing specialized stoves for their own particular purposes.  

Mott, Jordan L. Anthracite-Coal Stove. Number 7096X, 1832. Class 126/68.

This was the first of Jordan Mott's many stove patents.  Given that I have written so much about him elsewhere (particularly "Jordan Mott's Anthracite Stoves"), and that the original documents are all available online, I won't repeat much of it here.  Mott's 1843 catalogue is an excellent, illustrated and explanatory guide to the development of his product line. 


Gassner, David. Coal Cooking Stove. Number 7163X, 1832. Class 126/1R -- David Gassner was a grocer of 131 West St., but J. & M. Gassner were tinsmiths with a shop at 227 Fulton.  All three Gassner ?brothers lived at 315 Washington. 

Gassner's invention was a free-standing iron range rather than a stove, with four cooking holes and a large central one.  There were two ovens at either side of an open-fronted fire in the middle, their sides protected from overheating by firebricks.  It was "particularly adapted for burning anthracite," and its advantage was said to be the "steady and uniform degree of heat which may be applied to all parts of the stove at the same time."


Branch, Hardin. Generating Steam for Cooking. Number 7521X, 1833 -- not in 1834 or 1835 Directories. 

Disbrow, Levi. Combined Furnace and Steam-Boiler and Combined Furnace, Numbers 7568-7569X, 1833.

Mott, Jordan L. Magazine Stove. Number 7910X, 1833. Class 126/73.

Much more elegant than his 1832 patent -- pyramidal, fluted, and prominently marked on its front plate "J.L. Mott Patent." It claimed to combine the advantages of an open Franklin and a close stove, with an open-fronted anthracite grate, a boiling hole on top, and an ash drawer underneath.  The fluted chimney was "chiefly for ornament."

[1834 Directory]


Hunt, Walter. Globe or Radiator Stove. Number 8006X, 1834.  Class 126/58.

This is the most extraordinary of surviving New York stove patents, with superb, detailed drawings and a fascinating backstory.  It's probably too fascinating to include all of it here, so I'll do a separate post and meanwhile just refer anybody interested to the shortened version that appears in "Chapter 5: The Rise of the Stove Foundry" (direct link to draft:

Even more briefly, Hunt was the first professional inventor to appear among the ranks of stove pioneers, his engineering expertise and originality visible in the design and expert drawings of his Globe Stove, its spherical cast-iron firepot engraved with a map of the world.  It was made to burn anthracite and to decorate as well as heat a room.  Its internal arrangement was as novel as its appearance, with a "rack and pinion or vibrating ... grate" and an annular damper at the base of the column to enable the user to control heat output.

Hunt appears in the 1834 Directory as a stovemaker with business premises at 103 Amos and a house at 282 Bleecker.  So does one of the merchants and religious fanatics with whom he went into partnership to make and sell his stove, Benjamin H. Folger, who shows up twice, as a [wholesale] hardware dealer at 99 Pear Street, and stovemaker at 102 Charles.  (The other, Elijah Pierson, a.k.a. Elijah the Tishbite, entered history in July, 1834, allegedly poisoned by a plate of blackberrries.)  Even after the partnership had been dissolved by death and scandal, the Globe stove continued to sell and to win prizes -- "Seventh Annual Fair of the  American Institute," Mechanics' Magazine 25 Oct. 1834, p. 242.


Payne, E.D. Cooking Stove. Number 8056X, 1834 -- in 1835 Payne lived at 97 Beekman, just off Water Street, but Longworth's Directory gives no business or occupation for him.  A Henry Payne was a smith (presumably black-) at 266 Water.


Wilson, James. Union or Double Grate Heating Stoves. Number 8403X, 1834.  Class 126/500.

This is the first of Wilson's surviving or restored patents, taken out the year after his first insolvency, when he was re-entering business in partnership with, or sheltering behind, John or Joshua T. Gilbert.  It is an excellently drafted design, a proper engineering drawing for a very grand Open Franklin showing its sliding ash drawer, riddling grate, and chimney damper.  Its full name included all of its inventor's claims for it -- "Wilson's Improved Patent Pyramid Hot Air Guard Plate Union or Double Grate Stoves for burning all the various kinds of Anthracite Coal and all other flammable substances with the greatest economy adapted to all the varieties of situations such as meeting houses, halls, steamboats, selling rooms, counting houses, kitchen stoves, cabins &c &c on an entirely new principle never before known or used, in the United States."  A distinctive feature was the pair of cast-iron columns either side of the central fire, and the similar pair of tubes in the iron mantel, all meant to increase the fireplace's efficiency by circulating hot air through them.


Hopkins, W.A. Cooking Stove. Number 8424X, 1834 -- the only W. (William) A. Hopkins in the 1834-1836 Longworth's Directories was a printer whose shop was at 2 Ann Street.  


Wilson, Carington, Jr. Cooking Stove. Number 8443X, 1834 and Cooking Stove. Number 8445X, 1834. Class  126/18.

The text of the patent is missing, but the drawings are clear enough -- this was an open-front anthracite cook stove with a large oven above the fire and a small one F behind it.  The blower D was a sliding shutter that lay on the hearth plate as an ash-collector when not in use, but could be swung through 90 degrees to cover the fire.  No boiler holes are shown in the top plate. Wilson was a leghorn hat bleacher, the son of a Broadway milliner.  What persuaded him to turn himself into a stove inventor is unknown and probably unknowable, but by 1852 he had moved into the stove trade full-time.


[1835 Directory]

Pike, B. Grate. Number 8684X, 1835 -- there were two B. Pikes in the 1835-1839 Directories, Barnabas and Benjamin.  Benjamin (with his son) was an optician with a business on Broadway; Barnabas moved around the city and had no reported trade or occupation, but as by 1839 he had business premises on Peck Slip, right next to Water Street, he seems the better bet.

Augustin, Ernst G. Stove for Cooking and Warming Rooms. Numbers 8945 and 8946X, 1835 -- not in any of the directories 1834-1836 or 1839. 

Mott, Jordan L. Heating Stove. Number 8983X (1), 1835. Class 126/500.

This was the first of Mott's distinctive stoves with a body constructed of cast-iron rings, bolted together, with an outside surface "fluted, ribbed, or grooved, so as to expose a larger surface to the action of the external air, as this mode of forming them, will tend to prevent their being over heated, by its extended radiation."  This was designed both to make his stoves lighter and more efficient and also to prevent fire-cracking as they went through repeated heating and cooling cycles. 

Mott, Jordan L. Anthracite-Coal Heating Stove. Number 8983X (2), 1835. Class 126/500.

The text of this version of the patent makes the design purpose even clearer -- "by which means any difference of expansion in the respective parts may take place without the danger of breaking, whilst any portion which is defective may be easily removed, and its place supplied."  This was a desirable feature in "apparatus, which are to be exposed to great alterations of temperature," which could include retorts for generating gas from coal.  

Nobody seems to have picked up on this idea of Mott's, and he did not stick with it for long himself either.  This may have been because greater experience in stove design, and improved molding techniques once he began to cast his own stoves in his own foundries rather than buying them from New Jersey stove furnaces, made it unnecessary.

Mott, Jordan L. Heating Stove Knob or Handle. Number 8984X, 1835. Class 126/219.

This was a small but useful feature -- a way of making stove knobs of zinc or spelter in metal or sand moulds, screwed together.  The interest of this patent is mostly that it shows Mott's growing experience as a manufacturer, and his interest in labor-saving methods.  Using this technique, "the cost of them is much diminished whilst they are equally well adapted to the intended purpose."  Mott, still recorded as a South Street [wholesale] grocer in 1834, moved into 248 Water alongside Charles J. Gayler, iron chest maker, and John L. Brown & Co., patent balance and scale-beam makers and general machinists, in 1835.

Smith, T.B. Cooking Range. Number 9063X, 1835 -- there was a Thaddeus B. Smith, shipmaster, of 549 Broome Street, but there was also a Thomas, no middle initial, who was a moulder living in the foundry district on Goerck Street.

Mott, Jordan L. Grate and Stove-Bar. Number X9166, 1835. Class 126/170; 172/751.

As with his stove knob, this is mainly interesting because of what it says about Mott's thinking.  His design made his grate "more economical and the vibrating and tilting motions are obtained by a very simple arrangement of the parts." The grate included a sliding shutter to prevent the escape of dust, a common customer complaint ever since William James had tried to deal with it via his box hearth. 

Mott was evidently now designing things with an eye to ease and cheapness of manufacture.  "[T]he grate and its bearings are delivered from the moulds in casting ready for action without any filing or other fitting or the addition of any sliding bar or pin or other appendage."  They were simple, with the minimum number of operating parts, and immediately ready for use in as-cast form.


Gill, Bennington. Cooking Stove. Number 9285X, 1835. Class 126/1R.

Bennington Gill ran a hardware store at 206 Water, and was partner in (and the New York representative of) the Albany firm of Gill & French, stove makers.  He managed their supply chain -- pig iron and castings from the New Jersey furnaces -- and the sale and distribution of their products.

There are two more pages of detailed drawings.

His cooking stove was a transparent attempt to imitate, but hopefully not violate, the well-defended patent of his neighbor Myron Stanley at 244 Water, the New York representative of his brother Henry's furnace and foundry enterprise in upstate New York and Vermont.  Stanley's rotary cooking stove, patent number 7333X (1832), revised and reissued as 9282X in 1835 (lost in the Fire and not restored), and then as [new series] 91 in 1836, was the market leader in the 1830s.   

Other Stanley imitators tried to get around his patent by using a different mechanism -- e.g. a lever -- to rotate the top of the stove and bring cooking pots closer to or further away from the cook and the fire (for convenience in handling them, and controlling the amount of heat they received).  Gill made his stove circular too, but it did not rotate.  Instead, a complex arrangement of dampers enabled the cook to control the amount of heat applied to individual pots.

According to the always perceptive and often critical Thomas Jones, writing in his patent reviews in the Journal of the Franklin Institute 18:1 (July 1836): 39, "The difference between this stove and some which have been previously made is not very great and so far as we can judge from the description and drawings, which are by no means defective, we should much prefer one of Stanley's rotary stoves to it, as being less complex, and more convenient."


[1836 Directory]

Frazier, Thomas, Blanchard, Hiram, and Gill, Bennington. Cook Stove. No. 9621X, 1836. Class 126/1R -- Frazier was a stove manufacturer of 206 Water Street, 1834-1847, and at other nearby addresses until 1852; Blanchard was a pattern-maker of 250 Water Street; Gill we have already met.

This was just a modification for existing cooking stoves, claiming to control them better with the aid of a single flap-type damper in the flue above the oven.

Bennett, J. Grate. No. 9646X, 1836 -- J. Bennetts (James, Jeremiah, John, Joseph) are too numerous, and their occupations too varied and remote from the metal trades, for any to be identified with any confidence.

Anderson, William. Fire Place / Parlor Grate. No. 9765X, 1836.  Class 126/5 -- there were eight William Andersons in the 1836 Directory, none with a particular connection to the metal trades.  

His patent was for a cast-iron front, jambs, and hearth for an anthracite grate. He claimed that his design improved the grate's efficiency via polished reflectors on the jambs, and was adaptable to a Franklin stove as well as an ordinary fireplace.

Thorp, Gould. Cooking Stove. No. 9778X, 1836. Class 126/"1/1" -- Thorp was a stove manufacturer, in business at 254 or other premises in the Water Street stove district between 1834-1856.  David Thorp was one of the witnesses on this patent -- Gould's partner from 1839, and eventual successor.

No drawings; this claimed to be an improvement on the Holly Stove Patent (probably P. Holley of Red Hook, No. 3462X, 1822), which was "well known and is now public property, and the specification whereof is in the Patent Office." Not since the 1836 Fire it isn't.

And that concludes the old series of pre-Fire stove (etc.) patents. Almost all of those from 1836 onward have surviving patent drawings and texts, and there are also far more of them (138 through the end of 1855); so I will have to be more selective in only illustrating and commenting on those that were particularly novel, or influential, or otherwise significant.

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