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Friday, November 3, 2017

The American Kitchen Range, from its Origins through the Civil War {in progress}

This is a response to a post on a closed Facebook group, "The Iron Works! Collectors of Early Iron!" by the administrator, Scott Price, on 31 October 2017, which included a fine and relatively early stove catalogue, Daniel Potter & Co. of Troy, New York's for 1861, which is available online from Harvard University.  One member [Dwayne Henson] commented that this included, at p. 32, one of the earliest images of a cooking range that he had ever seen in such a catalogue.  I checked, and my research notes agreed with him.  This got me thinking: when did what became the dominant cooking stove type in late 19th and 20th century America first become common?  And how did it develop and attain its mature form?


The numbers of a range or stove refer to the size of the boiler holes, with other dimensions (including those of the oven) increasing in proportion.  The prices quoted translate into c. $1,400-$1,900 in 2016 term, i.e. the purchase of a small range took about as much of the average 1861 blue-collar worker's wages as a comparable domestic consumer durable costing that much nowadays.  These prices are very similar to those of Leibrandt & McDowell, a leading Philadelphia firm, for like products (2 or 3-boiler portable ranges) at the same time -- from $3.75 for the cheapest 7" to $8.50 for a 12" (c. $3,200).  L&N also produced a new 5-boiler range "well adapted for winter or summer use" for $6 (6" boiler holes/26.5" wide) to $9.25 (8"/33.5"), i.e. $2,400-$3,700, directly comparable with a modern range cooker.  This was exactly similar in layout, apart from the absence of the middle boiler hole in the back row (its place was taken by the stove pipe) to Joseph Read of Boston's Patent 26,054 of 1859, i.e. it was among the first of the modern portable ranges to compete with cook stoves in capacity, functionality, and price. 

Potter's 1858 patent design shows what started out being called a "portable range," to distinguish it from brick-set, built-in ranges, though the adjective soon dropped away.  (An alternative, equally revealing name was "Summer Range," i.e. a smaller appliance that could be placed on a covered porch or in an outhouse, to spare the family the heat of cooking in the kitchen of a house that was already baking.)  

As we can see, it was basically just a small cooking stove rotated through 90°, and with few other modifications to its layout.  The cook worked facing the stove, rather than having to stretch and reach, or move to one side or the other, to access the firebox, oven, and furthest cooking holes in the rear of the top plate.  The range had a similar footprint to a cooking stove but did not stick out so far into the kitchen, so it was probably more economical of space as well as more convenient to use.  It was also much easier to add to with the helpful extra features -- additional boiler-holes, hot-water reservoirs, back boilers, warming closets, warming and drying shelves above the  back of the top plate -- that designers were beginning to incorporate by the middle of the century to improve a stove's functionality.  The range simply needed to be made wider and a bit deeper, with no loss of usability; whereas a stove had to be made longer, and therefore to stick out further into the kitchen and be more of a problem to work around.  


The American range  had just one major disadvantage as compared with a standard (by the 1850s) four- or six-hole cooking stove: it only had one long side towards which people could draw up close when they wanted to thaw themselves out after coming indoors chilled from the winter outside.  You could pull up a chair and warm your feet on both sides of a stove, and at the front too.  A range was comparatively unaccommodating.  It was also somewhat more expensive.  For these reasons cooking stoves remained the appliances of choice in poorer and rural households, but in urban and small-town America ranges quickly became common, and normal by the end of the century.  


Where and when did the range originate?

As with most questions about the early history of American cooking and heating appliances, no definitive answers to these questions are readily available, and we cannot even find as many material remains as we have about, for example, 6-, 9-, and 10-plate stoves, from which we can make deductions about the evolution of manufacturing techniques or intended uses.  However, there is enough evidence of different sorts to enable us to hazard a guess.

A useful way of thinking about the history of the range is to ask what -- apart from being a cooking stove set against a wall rather than projecting out from it -- this appliance essentially was, in terms of its function.  Viewed this way, we can think of it as a way of bringing several everyday operations in cooking and household management together in one appliance rather than spreading them out among several different ones, each requiring their own separate source of heat.  

Kitchens of larger and more prosperous eighteenth-century households had a principal cooking fire for operations requiring the direct application of heat to food (toasting, grilling, roasting) or to the utensils in which it might be cooked (pots, skillets, spiders, dutch ovens); a separate brick-built baking oven, often alongside the kitchen fire, heated by building a fire within it, raking out ashes and embers when the brickwork had heated to the required temperature, and then used to bake bread when it was at its hottest, and other items as it cooled.  They would also, probably, have a water boiler -- a metal cauldron set in brickwork.  And they might, if particularly progressive, have what the English called a "stew stove" -- a row of small holes in a stone or later iron top, set waist-high on brickwork.  Each had an iron basket within it to take an individual  fire (probably a shovelful of embers and coals from the main hearth) beneath it.  This was used for more delicate cooking operations in households prosperous enough, and with a sufficiently Frenchified taste, to need and afford them.  When late 18th-early 19th century British and American cookbooks refer to the use of a "stove," this is what they mean.


English illustration of a small (2-hole) stew stove, 1772


Reconstructed stew stove in kitchen annex at Ham House, Surrey,
showing iron liners for cooking holes.


Reconstructed stew stove with ?iron top in main kitchen at Ham House, Surrey

Stew stoves were not an English invention -- they were probably an adaptation of the French potager, whose antecedents stretched back to Roman times -- but they were the most likely models for those in some prosperous North Americans' kitchens.  Some of these survive from the early national period in the houses of the rich, or have been reconstructed by archaeologists and preservationists in more modern times, and they show these arrangements quite clearly.  The best documented is probably Thomas Jefferson's at Monticello, dating from (accounts differ) before 1796 but after his return from France in 1789, or 1809, after the installation of similar apparatus in the President's (now White) House for his successor James Madison.  [Sources: Justin A. Sarafin, "Like Clockwork: French Influence in Monticello's Kitchen," in Damon Lee Fowler, ed., Dining at Monticello: In Good Taste and Abundance (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005), pp. 19-28, for full description and 1796 date at p. 23; Dave DeWitt, The Founding Foodies: How Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin Revolutionized, p. 187 for 1809].



Reconstruction of Jefferson's kitchen at Monticello, showing 6 or 7 holes of the 8-hole stew stove, the "set kettle" (water boiler) in the corner, cooking hearth with crane, and bake oven. High quality versions available on Flickr -- Top, Bottom.

A more ordinary and (at the time of the photograph, in 1913) quite well preserved urban kitchen, surviving from an eighteenth-century house in Quebec City, shows the arrangement in some ways even better: the potager to the left of the fire, the bake oven (with a water container placed on the hot shelf above it) to the right, a water boiler (with part of a later iron stove sitting on top) in the corner


From Marcel Moussette, Le Chauffage Domestique au Canada: Des Origines à l'Industrialisation (Montréal: Presses Université Laval, 1983), p. 130.

A similar but probably slightly later (Federal period) New England example incorporates the first piece of genuinely new technology to enter a few North American kitchens -- those of the upper class, or businesses (taverns) and institutions cooking on a large scale: the Rumford Roaster, a fuel-saving oven built according to Benjamin Thomson (Count Rumford)'s principles.


Sandra L. Oliver, Food in Colonial and Federal America (Greenwood Press, 2005), p. 100.

The challenge for the inventors and makers of the first American ranges was to make these facilities hitherto only available in the kitchens of the wealthy accessible to a wider range of customers, and at the same time to improve them, by bringing the different functions (cooking by direct and indirect heat -- toasting, grilling, roasting, baking, and boiling; heating water; and space heating) together into a single appliance.  In order to appeal to a wider market these appliances had to be (1) available -- a network of designers, manufacturers, installers and suppliers needed to develop, at first in the major seaport cities, but reaching out from these bases by mid-century; (2) serviceable -- appliances had to be tailored and then improved, by experience, to meet customers' changing needs, and to satisfy their expectations about, for example, fuel economy; and (3) affordable -- in the beginning, ranges were customized artisan products, priced accordingly, and only appealing to the rich or to those cooking on a large scale (boarding houses, hotels, restaurants, public institutions).  To grow the market, an increasing proportion of a range's components needed to be somewhat standardized and turned into factory-made and ideally factory-assembled goods.  

There was one final challenge that needed to be overcome, even within the markets of the port cities, before the range could become a mass-consumption good, and that was the one the portable range, the true antecedent of the common late nineteenth and twentieth-century range, began to address: they had to be (4) movable -- a function of a range's weight, construction (as a free-standing unit or as a built-in appliance), and robustness.  A characteristic of the domestic real estate market in the cities, particularly New York, was the prevalence of short-term tenancies and regular, even annual, removals from one house or apartment to another.  Even relatively prosperous tenants or mobile owner-occupiers were unable or unwilling to make the large fixed investment in kitchen equipment that a built-in range represented.  The free-standing stove suited their lifestyles much better.  Only when makers could produce ranges that were as transportable as a stove, or sufficiently cheap that landlords were prepared to install them as fixed equipment, would ranges become ubiquitous. [Elizabeth Blackmar, Manhattan for Rent, 1785-1850 (Cornell Univ. Press, 1991), on tenures.]


H. Mosler, "Just Moved," lithograph by A. & C. Kaufmann, 1873.  Original 1870 oil painting at the Met.  The stove is a six-boiler anthracite burner.



The British Kitchen Range and Kitchener -- A Model for Americans?

An interesting question, to which I can have no definite answer, is whether (or rather when, and how much) early American range designers and builders were influenced by 18th and early 19th century British example: the development, in a largely deforested country where the use of coal for domestic fuel was already widespread, and with a much more advanced iron industry than the early United States, of the typical British kitchen range, with an oven and a water boiler either side of an open cooking fire in the middle.  


Cast-iron Kitchen Range, Lunesdale Bakery, Kirby Lonsdale, December 2014 [high-quality version]


Cast-Iron Kitchener, Lindisfarne Castle, Holy Island, Northumberland, October 2014 [high-quality version].  The fact that this range and the one before were probably early C20th models does not matter much, given that there was so little technical progress in British range design and manufacture (see below). 

The first British patents for this layout were obtained in the early 1780s, and the first which covered the top of fire (and came to be known as the kitchener) in the early 1800s. [David J. Eveleigh, Firegrates and Kitchen Ranges (Princes Risborough: Shire Publications, 1983, pp. 16-28.]  All of these British ranges and kitcheners were built into the existing fireplace opening or chimney breast, but a "portable range" like later American types was patented in 1815, though it does not seem to have caught on until the middle of the century when American ranges were shown at the Great Exhibition in London, after which they were known and sold in the British market as "American ranges."  

In the latter case, we have very clear evidence of American influence -- the major British manufacturer of these products, Smith & Wellstood of Falkirk, was established by a man who had worked as a stove dealer in the United States before returning home to make and sell pirated versions of American designs, which were by then more advanced than their British equivalents.  But there is no similar proof that early 19th century American range builders started out by following British models rather than just reaching a similar destination by their own independent path.  However, given that the early American range was a product whose manufacture and use was almost confined to the major port cities of Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, it would be very surprising if there had been no influence at all, however unacknowledged, and whether conveyed via importation of goods, travel and observation, immigration, or simply by reading. [See e.g. Mrs William Parkes, Domestic Duties: Or, Instructions to Young Married Ladies, on the Managementof their Households (New York: J. & J. Harper, 1829), pp. 169-70 -- the third American edition of a work first published in London in 1825, taking a range for granted as a centerpiece of the modern kitchen, and extolling its advantages.]

But the evidence is that by mid-century the American ranges that were most like their British counterparts -- large, heavy, and built-in -- were already more technically advanced; and for the portable range and the appliances that developed from it, there was no effective British precedent.  The state of the art in British mid-century range design is well summarized in John Sproule's catalogue of the 1853 Irish Industrial Exhibition (a follow-up to the larger and much more celebrated Crystal Palace Exhibition), quite critical of English range makers' (and customers') devotion to very conservative design principles, including huge, hungry, smoky open fires.  American range designers made far more progress within a couple of decades of the first significant range production in the United States in the 1830s than their British counterparts had made, or would make, in a much greater period of time.













Sproule gave this crude little portable range and its maker, Benham's of London,  the highest praise: "Their cottage range was among the best of the articles of its class from its completeness, and the large amount of accommodation which it afforded. ... it is not necessarily a fixture and ... it merely requires a pipe to connect it with the flue to admit of its being placed anywhere that may be convenient The quantity of fuel consumed in it is inconsiderable, compared with what is ordinarily required. A suite of cooking utensils may be had with the range which makes it an admirable article for the emigrant or cottager; the whole comprising the means of cooking comfortably for a small family."  But the cheapest and simplest American portable range was already far more attractive and usable than this.  [For another expert but less critical report on mid-century British practice in kitchen design and equipment, see Thomas Webster & Mrs William Parkes, An Encyclopaedia of Domestic Economy (New York ed. of English original, 1855), pp. 843-47.]

A decade of further rapid progress later, the authoress of Dinners and Dinner Parties reached the only sensible conclusion, one which seems to have escaped most of her contemporaries: "[P]ersons who study economy and cleanliness" could escape the "expensive ... [British] kitchen range" with its "destruction of tons upon tons of coals, its dirt, its soot, and its waste," by adopting American-style ranges, available in London but still not yet popular. 

The fire chamber occupies the centre of the range, the heat from which passes to the right and left under the different pots, kettles, or boilers, which fit into the hot plate, and then descending completely encompasses both ovens, and imparts an uniformity of heat never before attained, so that joints, pastry, &c do not require that constant turning which is found necessary in many of the most expensive ranges in use. 
The fire chamber is fitted with fire-clay linings, and the hot plate is so arranged and divided off into sections as to render it perfectly secure against fracture or cracking from over-heating. 
The flues of the range, after making the circuit of the two ovens, meet and pass out at the back, from whence the necessary connexion with the chimney may be made with either a sheet iron smoke pipe or a brick flue.
The arrangements for clearing out the flues are so simple and complete that it may be done thoroughly in a few minutes at any time. 

As we will see below, The Gentlewoman was describing a recognizable American range, incorporating the fruits of three decades of increasingly imitative and competitive innovation by designers in the seaboard cities which had delivered, by the eve of the Civil War, a good mass-market product.  (Slightly confusingly, the above clear description is illustrated with a picture of an American-style stove in an English kitchen fireplace, with a hot-water cylinder beside it.  But the text makes it plain that something like John Treadwell of Albany, NY's "Range or Stove" of 1860, Patent 30,013, is what she is actually talking about.)

By the 1870s, knowledgeable American observers were even more brutally dismissive of their British counterparts and their products, which seemed to have experienced no improvements in at least a generation.  British ranges, with their "ungainliness of shape and general ugliness," were "as hideous as their grates and open fire places are beautiful."  They had small, slow ovens, and were as inefficient as they were uneconomical.  "Awkward, ugly and inconvenient to a degree unapproached in any other class of goods we know of, [English kitcheners] stand at least half a century behind the American standard of excellence."  ["English Stoves," The Metal Worker 3:21 (22 May 1875):4.]
  

So if there was any direct British influence on American range design in the 1820s and 1830s, by mid-century its time had certainly long passed, and it is reasonably safe to assume that the evolution of American range design and construction which the remainder of this post will examine was an almost entirely homegrown process. 


The Kitchen Range in the U.S. Patent Record

As usual, and for all of their imperfections, surviving patent records provide the best way of reconstructing the development of this stove type in the United States.  Few kitchen ranges from the Early National Period survive, either in historic houses or museums, and newspaper or other advertising (e.g. makers' broadsides and catalogues) is rare before the 1830s and not very common until the 1850s, so the patent record provides a necessary fallback.

William Gamble of Washington, DC., patented a "Distillery and Kitchen Range," number 1492X, in 1811, the first to use the name in its official title, but that is all we know -- it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1836, which wiped so much of the record of the first 45 years of American invention.  Gamble (1758-1833) was a member of an Anglo-Irish merchant family who emigrated from Dublin to the Colonies, served with the rebel forces in the struggle for independence, and then pursued a long and not very successful career, including a failed attempt to set up a distillery in Niagara, before his move to Washington in the 1800s.  Did Gamble bring part of the idea of, or at least the name for, his kitchen range to America with him, or did he invent it there?  Probably we will never know.

Destruction by fire was also the fate that befell all but 27 of the c. 230 patents for cooking and heating apparatus issued before 1830, so we cannot tell whether any of them may actually have been for what we would call "ranges," though their authors used another term.  One partial exception is Samuel Dickey of Oxford, PA's "Stove," Pat. 670X of 1806, and that is only because we have his "Description of a Kitchen Stove" in the Memoirs of the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture, Vol. 1 (Philadelphia: Jane Aitken, 1808), pp. 290-295.  

Dickey's stove (which I wrote about here more than four years ago) was a hybrid device -- it seems to have married the layout of iron ovens above a fire-box from Oliver Evans's "Philosophical and Ventilating Stove" of 1795 with a cast-iron cooking hearth possibly derived from the suppenherd, the Pennsylvania German version of the potager.  Unlike the stew stove, whether in its traditional or Rumfordized versions, Dickey's three cooking holes did not have their own independent fires: they were instead heated from the single fire beneath the oven.  Dickey's device looks like the product of independent invention, or at least synthesis (enough to persuade the U.S. Patent Office and courts of a device's originality), designed without any obvious knowledge of British precedent, and lacking any clear legacy to subsequent range designs.



The first patent for what did look more like a (later, portable) range, though, like Dickey's, it did not use that term, has also not survived, and did not seem to serve as a model for later American ranges either, was Charles Postley of New York's "Cooking and Heating Stove," X2074 (1814).  Postley was a successful inventor, manufacturer, and dealer, remaining in the business for another thirty years, but there is little evidence that his pioneering idea of rotating a free-standing cooking stove through 90° was imitated at the time, though it was much more versatile than most that followed it for the next couple of decades, even including a copper water-heating coil.  Postley's device, like Dickey's, looks to be all-American, with no clear ancestry and no immediate progeny.


"Postley's Patent Cooking Stove," The American Magazine 1:9 (Feb. 1816): 326-7.  For more about this, see this blog post.

George Youle, also of New York City, patented a "Fire-Hearth Range or Galley," 3087X, in 1819, but like William Gamble's its record was also consumed in the Great Fire of 1836.  This is a pity.  As the title suggests, Youle was a specialist "caboose" (ship's stove) maker (see this blog post), so it would be interesting to know if his "Fire-Hearth Range" was an adaptation of galley stove design to meet the needs of customers on land too.  But we can only guess.

In the same year Jonas and Simon Gleason, Philadelphia hardware manufacturers, did not patent (Jonas's only patent was in 1814, for making screws), but did advertise and sell, something that was not quite a range, but performed many of the same functions.  It might, perhaps, not have been their patent, except by purchase, but a device based on the still valid 1812 patent of John Bouis, the "snuffy old" Baltimore tinsmith, sheet iron worker, and cooking and heating appliance maker and inventor, for a steam stove, Patent 1632X; or it might have been a rip-off of a British appliance imported and sold the previous year.


Bouis's Patent. 



What this advertisement tells us is that there was already a market, notably among households, businesses, and public institutions cooking on a large scale, for technological solutions to the challenges of catering and domestic management -- or at least the Gleasons thought there was, and given that they stayed in the business for another three decades they must have been right.  

The market may have been developed by imported British technology:


Paxton's Philadelphia Directory, 1818.

But this market can only have been a narrow one: the smallest "Steam Kitchen," for a family of four to six, cost $43 ($30,500 at 2016 prices, using the "Average Production Worker Compensation" method of comparison); the largest, for a "family" (household, including servants) of 18 to 25, cost $92 ($65,300).  These were somewhat cheaper than Slater's prices on imported goods -- $55 to $200 "and upwards" for "five to five hundred personstranslates into c. $40,000-$140,000 plus, i.e. unaffordable by and in fact not intended for any but the most prosperous households, with abundant discretionary spending power.  Prices like these confined the demand for the Gleasons' and other similar products, perhaps including Bouis's and the the Youles', to consumers with ample resources and either the luxury of choice or the pressure of necessity -- commercial or institutional caterers.  Ranges were little different, at least in the beginning.


* * * 

Through the 1820s there were no further range patents, and a careful search of Philadelphia and New York City directories shows nobody describing himself as a range maker until Charles Tozer in New York in 1835, after which the numbers of these specialist members of the stove-making community slowly increased.  Not coincidentally, the early/mid-1830s is also when we begin to see a steady trickle of range patents.  None of these appear to have been influenced by Dickey's, Postley's, or Bouis's, work, and it was at this period that imitation of, or at least convergence with, British range and kitchener design is most apparent, though evidence of direct influence is lacking.  

What stimulated this new wave of American "invention"?  Most probably the same thing that had led to the development of the British range and kitchener decades earlier -- the beginnings of the changeover from wood to coal as the predominant fuel of urban America, requiring new appliances (at the very least, a fire with a grate) to burn it in.  As James Vaux of Philadelphia's 1826 design for an anthracite-burning cooking grate demonstrated, building one into an existing  kitchen fireplace left plenty of space either side.  American range makers promptly began to fill it, mostly following British precedent at first, but soon departing down their own, more progressive tracks.

James Vaux, "Remarks upon the Use of Anthracite, and Its Application to the Various Purposes of Domestic Economy," The Franklin Journal, and American Mechanics' Magazine 2:5 (Nov. 1826): 292-5.


Joseph Jennings, New York City.  Cooking Apparatus, Pat. 5961X, 1830.



According to the 1835 New York City directory, Jennings was a moulder.  The text of his patent is less revealing than the picture, and there is unfortunately no key to the letters marking different features of the range.  It seems partly inspired by Oliver Evans's 1795 design, because it combined the functions of a cooking range with those of a warm-air furnace capable of heating "every apartment in the house, at any agreeable temperature, by conducting the hot air through pipes or flues."  It performed "all that is required for culinary purposes (viz) Roasting, Boiling, Baking, Frying, Broiling, Stewing &c."  It was designed to run on any fuel, though Jennings preferred anthracite, just then coming into use in the city.  It looks as if the range had hot-water reservoirs either side of the top plate and inside the brick-lined back wall -- otherwise, what are the faucets for?  The round-headed Norman arched door in the brickwork was probably for a closed firebox, with niche in the base for shovelling out ashes; the upper, Gothic arch was probably for the oven.  It is possible that there may also have been an oven between the firebox door and the hearth, its door bearing Jennings's name and patent details.  The top plate carries two large steamers.  An interesting feature is the glazed windows and hood over the top of the stove, probably designed to minimize cooking smells in the house by carrying them away up the chimney, but the description is as silent about these as it is about the various knobs marked b in the front and top plates which probably controlled dampers for directing the heat to one boiler or another, or to the upper oven.  [hjh -- more here or later on kitchen smells?]  


A. Savage, Pottsville, PA.  Anthracite-Coal Stove, Pat. 6026X, 1830.

This is another lost (burnt) patent, but there is a good description of it in the Barnstable Patriot, 24 Aug. 1831, p. 2, making it sound very like a conventional British range or perhaps kitchener (the "hot hearth" may refer to the iron plate on top of the fire):


The reference is to William James's "saddlebags" cooking stove, invented in 1815, improved through the 1820s, and remaining in production until at least the 1860s -- the first to achieve something like region-wide market penetration along the Atlantic seaboard from Philadelphia to Boston, and far into the interior.  The advantages of stove cooking -- fuel economy, a saving of labor for the cook, and a better working environment than in front of a hot open fire -- are well appreciated.

 
David Gassner, New York City.  Coal Cooking Stove, Pat. 7163X, 1832.



In 1835, J. & M. Gassner were tinsmiths -- craftsmen very close to the early stove trade, for which they made utensils and "funnels" (chimneys), and did sales and installation.  David was presumably a family member.  The range he patented was designed to burn anthracite in its open basket grate, and looks very similar to a British kitchener, except that it was free-standing, like a stove, not built-in, and sat on its own cabriolet-style stove  legs.  There were ovens on both sides of the central fire, accessed from each end, and a metal plate over all, pierced by four cooking holes and one large central hole for grilling.  Its peculiar 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."  It could be built of cast or sheet iron, the latter of which "whitesmiths" (sheet metal workers) like the Gassners could shape and assemble. 


Josiah W. & Eli Kirk, Philadelphia, PA.  Heating and Cooking Stove, Pat. 7735X, 1833.



The Kirks' original patent was actually for a square, neat anthracite stove with a single oven over the fire and four boilers.  What they seem to have done over the next few years was to develop it into an early example of a "portable range," not unlike Gassner's, with the optional extra of a "perpetual boiler" attached (like Postley's twenty years earlier), to provide "a full supply of hot water for bathing and culinary purposes."  

(It is possible that I am not reading the above engraving of their stove's evolved form properly: are the spaces either side of the firebox and oven perhaps simply air-heating chambers fronted by grilles?  There was an air-heating jacket in the original stove too.  In that case, even though the 1837-1839 version was a stove with a rectangular shape placed parallel with the wall behind it, it might not actually have been a range at all, simply an interesting stove variant, and this might not be the first range advertisement that I have come across.)


Eliphalet Nott, Schenectady, NY. Kitchen Range for Using Anthracite Coal, Pat. 8792X1835.

A strange-looking invention by America's premier stove designer, the Reverend Dr Eliphalet Nott, President of Union College.  Really just a free-standing cooking stove which could be built with its four cooking holes set out in a row, like those on a stew stove, rather than in the usual square formation; not a proper range, lacking an oven.


Elijah Skinner, Sandwich, NH. Cooking Stove, Pat. 8889X, 1835.



Skinner was also quite a prolific stove inventor (see this post), despite the fact that he lived in the interior of the least economically dynamic state in New England, and his "stove" actually looked much more of a range, with three cooking holes and an elevated oven, a layout that became very common in New England.  Skinner's range was made to be built into existing fireplace openings and, unlike most of those being designed in the 1830s, was not intended for anthracite fuel (there is no grate, and a very large firebox).


T.B. Smith, New York City. Cooking Range, Pat. 9063X, 1835 -- Destroyed by fire, 1836. Smith was a moulder.

G. Johnson, Philadelphia, PA. Kitchen Range, Pat. 9676X, 1836 -- Destroyed by fire, 1836.  




W.W. Parrott, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 142, 1837.

Another recognizably British-pattern, brick-set cast-iron range, to be built into an existing fireplace, with an open grate and an oven either side of the fire -- a transitional design, for customers just beginning to move away from fireplace cookery.  Roasting was to be carried out in front of the open fire, pots and pans to be suspended over it, i.e. there were no cooking holes in the top plate over the ovens.  It was equipped with a grate adaptable to all fuels, but Parrott recommended anthracite as the best. 


Elijah Skinner, Sandwich, NH. Cooking Stove, 4291837.



This was not described as a "portable range," though it easily could have been -- Skinner's stove was installed in a fireplace opening, but stood free of the back wall.  His patent describes several different layouts, of which the first (illustrated above) makes it clearest that this was essentially just a wood stove with an oven behind and below the fire and three cooking holes in the top plate, fitted sideways rather than lengthways.  Most unusually, Skinner also provides dimensions, so we can visualize his stove's size -- c. 3'6" long by 16-18" wide, which allows us to at least estimate its height from the drawings (c. 2'6" on its low brick plinth). 


John Morris, Derby, CT. Cooking and Warming Stove, Pat. 455, 1837.

An idiosyncratic design, made to be installed in an existing fireplace opening, with a large, raised oven, and three small fire-grates side by side, each of them with a cooking hole in the iron plate above it.  They could be used separately, like the individual  holes of a stew stove, traditional or Rumfordized, or all together, and were intended for anthracite as well as other fuels.  Like Jennings, and following Oliver Evans's original plan, the stove was designed to heat the upper floors of a house  with warmed air, as well as to do the cooking.  A John Morris, then of New Haven, had also invented a "Cooking Apparatus" in 1812, Pat. 1809X (burnt 1836), and "proved himself to be of great advantage to his race by several [other] inventions, specially his faucets and patents for putting up meats" -- a "Box Boiler" in 1812 and apparatus for "Distilling and Boiling Liquors" in 1816.  [Mathews, Descendants of Governor Thomas Welles of Connecticut and His Wife Alice, p. 935]  If this was the same John Morris, he was by this time an old man (his wife was born in 1766), but experienced in designing and building heat-using devices used in food preserving. 


Samuel Pierce, New York City. Mode of Constructing Flues, &c., of Kitchen Ranges, Pat. 613, 1838.


This was the first recorded patent by a man who went on to become one of the most influential stove inventors in mid-century America, active until the early 1870s.  Pierce, b. 1812, was the youngest son of Samuel Pierce, the tinsmith of Greenfield, Massachusetts, and younger brother of John J. Pierce, proprietor of the town's Franklin Furnace and a stove inventor since at least 1822, the year in which he took out a (lost) patent for an open cooking stove, No. 3473X.  In 1833, when he turned 21 and probably completed his apprenticeship, Samuel moved to New York City and opened a stove store on Lower Broadway [Richard Edwards, ed., New York's Great Industries. Exchange and Commercial Review, including also Historical and Descriptive Sketch of the City, Its Leading Merchants and Manufacturers (New York: Historical Publishing Co., 1884), p. 102]. By 1835 he was already describing himself as a patent range manufacturer, a description he shared with none of his competitors [Subscribers' List, Journal of the American Institute 1:2 (Nov. 1835): 40].

Given that he did not have any patents in his own name at that time, it is possible that what he was doing -- and the reason he had moved to the city -- was to manufacture and/or sell goods to his brother's old patent, but for a much larger market than the Upper Connecticut valley offered. Alternatively, he may have been manufacturing another inventor's patent, under licence -- one of those lost in the 1836 Fire. Or he may simply have been making an unjustified claim, for purposes of self-promotion -- not uncommon in the early American stove trade.

The range he made and sold looks to have been a modification of a British-style kitchener, like Gassner's, but built-in rather than free-standing, with the oven moved above and behind the fire like Skinner's, and the water boiler to the right probably heated by its own flue or perhaps a pipe running through the grate. The iron "cheeks" either side of the fire served no purpose except to support the top plate -- there were no ovens behind them, something only added by the time of his 1838 patent. A probable attraction of the elevated oven layout is that it could be heated effectively by a simple and direct smoke flue rather than by radiation and conduction through the side plates of the grate, the method adopted by Gassner, or the increasingly complex downdraft flue systems adopted by later inventors who wanted to site their ovens at ground level, below the hob. The obvious disadvantage was that the cook had to reach and stretch above the fire in order to get at the oven.

Note the large spaces between the bars on Pierce's grate: like Gassner's, it was made for customers new to burning anthracite, who thought it best or even necessary to buy and use it in large lumps. This was a tremendously wasteful practice, and a carryover from New Yorkers' previous habits in burning bituminous coal from Virginia or Liverpool sea-coal.



Pierce's original "patent range" (1833), lacking the ovens either side of the fire in his 1838 model, and, probably, the distinctive flue arrangement.  ["Pierce's Kitchen Range and Cooking Apparatus," Mechanics' Magazine, & Journal of the Mechanics' Institute 2:2 (Aug. 1833): 105-6.]

In 1838 he finally patented his own, by then prizewinning, brick-set, anthracite-fuelled cooking range ["List of Premiums Awarded by the Managers of the Ninth Annual Fair of the American Institute, held at Niblo's Gardens, October, 1836," Journal of the American Institute 2:2 (Nov. 1836): 85-95 at p. 87] which other New York firms made for him.  He also sold manufacturing rights outside the city [Proceedings of the Second Annual Fair of the Ohio Mechanics' Institute: Held during the Third Week in June, in the City of Cincinnati (Cincinnati: R.P. Brooks, 1839), p. 12]. According to the city directories, Pierce's stoves were at first manufactured by a partnership of two local artisans, David Lockwood, a grate-setter, and Henry Andrews, a stove-builder; between 1839 and 1840 the partnership changed to Pierce & Lockwood, the two men having separate stores on Broadway and Fulton.


Pierce's patent range had three ovens, one either side of the fire and a larger one, with three shelves, heated from the smoke flue; five cooking holes in the top plate of the range; and a water boiler, with a tap, to the left of the range, which must have had its own flue too, and a damper to control it, or a heating coil behind the grate. Like most ranges at the time, this was designed for large, prosperous households or commercial cooking (restaurants, hotels, institutions, etc.).  The metal parts were made by blacksmiths and iron founders, and then assembled and installed within the kitchen alcove that used to be occupied by the old cooking fire, or built into new houses. Pierce's ranges were expensive, customized products, and represented a large and immobile capital investment. They were not seeking, and would never find, a mass market. Pierce and the makers and installers he licensed made their money from a high margin, not large volume.

Despite these limitations, Pierce's business evidently grew. By 1842 he was a sole trader as a patent range manufacturer on Fulton Street, and his old partner Lockwood was once again independent too. In 1843 he decided to devote himself to stove invention full time, leaving the New York City business in the care of an older brother, George, who would continue to sell what his brother invented from his store, which he moved back to Broadway, until at least 1856. Samuel moved first to Peekskill, where there were foundries and pattern-makers to work with and “a pleasant place of residence of my family” [Pierce testimony in Report of a Trial, pp. 20, 24 (quote)]. In 1845 he moved to Troy, just eighty miles west of Greenfield, where he still had a farm, and stayed there for the next couple of decades, producing twenty-four original patents for heating and cooking stoves and ranges in a thirty-three year inventing career. 

Lockwood Range in the Riker Homestead, Queens, New York.  Historic American Buildings Survey Collection, Library of Congress.  This seems to have been a design of Lockwood's own, with a Jordan Mott-style fuel feed door [see this post] above the firebox, drop-down Barrows-style oven doors (see below), and two additional offset elevated ovens or warming closets.  Recent photographs of the kitchen seem to indicate that this range is no longer in situ, and probably n'existe plus.



Ebenezer Barrows, Mattapoisett, MA. Mode of Constructing & Arranging the Flues of Cooking-Range, Pat. 1456 1839.



A large built-in kitchener similar to Pierce's, i.e. this sort of brick-set, British-style range, looking like a grand cast-iron dresser, was what the market expected and required.  Barrows's USP was that his oven doors folded down, for ease of access -- a feature covered by a patent he obtained in 1837, no. 366; his patent claim in this detailed, well-illustrated application was for the design of the flues for distributing heat to all of the ovens, and the dampers for controlling it.  The range included a vent for extracting the steam and smells from the cooking vessels on the top plate into the chimney.  Barrows (1797-1858) was a member of a group of South-East Massachusetts iron founders making hollow ware and stoves -- the interrelated Barrows, Savery, Ellis, and Bowers families.  [Source: Jim Fuchs.]


Herbert H. Stimpson, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 1,515, 1840.


Stimpson's Boston Directory, 1832-33, back cover.

The Stimpson brothers, Herbert (originally a tinsmith) and Frederick, had been in the stove trade in Boston since at least 1828, buying their castings from New Jersey furnaces and doing their own finishing, assembly, and sales from their city centre "factory."  As we can see from the above advertisement, at the start of the 1830s they had a wide but quite traditional product line which did not include any kitchen ranges, just the iron parts of brick-built bake ovens and boilers that equipped some of the larger and more prosperous urban kitchens and might be thought of as predecessors to the range.  A few years later they joined the small group of range designers and builders themselves.  

Their first patent may have been in 1840, but by that time they were already quite experienced, their products well known.  In December 1838, for example, their castings supplier, New Jersey iron master David Cooper Wood, wrote to Herbert that "Your brother continues amongst us [in Philadelphia], for a most benevolent purpose, to provide us with the means of good living for having good provisions well cooked.  And I presume his exertions will meet with the desired success -- As your Ranges are becoming very popular & when fully understood will come into general use." [Wood to Stimpson, 4 Dec. 1838, Wood Letterbooks].



The Stimpsons' range was quite like Pierce's original design, in that its only oven was in the chimney breast behind and above the fire.  This arrangement, while hard on the cook, who could only reach the oven across the top of the fire, was probably a result of the difficulty of heating evenly ovens either side of the fire, if they had to depend entirely on conduction through the iron plate separating the oven and the fire.  This is mostly conjecture, but it is informed by unfortunate experience in trying to bake bread 40 years in a Welsh cottage range whose small oven was heated in this way, as well as by observations in later patents on the problems their inventors were attempting to overcome.  It would also help explain why other early range designers, like Barrows and Pierce, always highlighted the importance of their flue designs, which made firebox-level ovens more practicable.  The Stimpsons' USP for this first range was the circulation of flue gas in two cast columns either side of the range, making the appliance more effective in heating the kitchen as well as just doing the cooking, or so they said.  This is not unlike Elijah Skinner's 1835 design.  


Directions for Using Stimpson's New Patent Radiating and Hot Air Cooking Ranges, n.d.,
Historic New England Ephemera Collection.

The emphasis on using a range for space heating, which we find in several other early patents, raises an interesting question about how designers responded to users' requirements.  It is possible that early ranges, though they would impress later makers and customers as extraordinarily heavy on fuel, were too fuel-efficient for users accustomed to the amount of heat thrown out into the kitchen and the rest of the house by an old-fashioned cooking fire.  Designers thus attempted, not just to get more usable heat out of the fire, but to employ more of this heat in warming the air rather than just doing the cooking.   



Ebenezer Barrows, Mattapoisett, MA. Kitchen Range, Pat. 1694, 1840.



Barrows's second range patent once again included his fold-down doors and three ovens.  A distinction between this range and his 1839 model is that the lower ovens in this model were supposed to be heated simply by radiation from the cylindrical fire chamber D rather than via controllable heating flues too.  The only heat control in this range involved sliding shutters to close the openings E either side of the fire chamber. 

Barrows's market was not confined to Massachusetts.  Samuel Lloyd, running one of the oldest firms of stove dealers in Philadelphia, advertised Barrow ranges to his customers from 1839 onwards:


McElroy's Philadelphia Directory, 1840, advertisements p. 50.


Joshua Grime, Beekmantown, NY.  Domestic Oven, or Apparatus for Cooking (Cooking Closet), Pat. 1918, 1840.

Not described as a range by its designer, and a side-branch or dead-end in the process of innovation, but included here simply as an interesting example of an upcountry artisan's attempt to do what urban range designers were succeeding in doing, i.e. enabling households to acquire a cooking appliance built into an existing fireplace opening and enabling them to bake, boil, or roast with a single fire.


Nathan P. Kingsley, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 2,310, 1841.

Also outside of the main line of range development, but interesting as another attempt to turn a range into a dual-purpose device, heating air to warm other rooms in the house through convection flues.  Kingsley's aim was to achieve this in a way guaranteeing "that the air shall not be charged or mingled with the effluvia, which are necessarily produced by the various cooking operations."  Here, too, the designer was responding to the perceived needs of customers in the early years of the changeover from fireplace to range cookery.  An open fire in an enormous hearth took most of the smells of cooking up the chimney; stove or range cooking left them in the kitchen, and permeating into the rest of the house.  Kingsley and some of his contemporaries looked for a work-around for this problem, and the consumer resistance it caused.


Abram Spaulding, New York City. Cooking Range, Pat. 2,354, 1841.



Abram Spaulding showed up in the 1840 city directory as a "smith."  His patent was another large brick-set British-style kitchener, similar to Pierce's with which it was a direct competitor.  What distinguished it was its much more complicated internal arrangements and greater cooking capacity -- two fireboxes and a shelf in front of them to carry a "tin kitchen" (reflector oven) for roasting meat; an integrated boiler which did not just heat the hot water tank to the left of the range but also a rising pipe z which warmed upstairs rooms by steam; three large cooking holes and three ovens above the whole width of the top plate; and an air heater, so that the range could serve as a warm-air furnace as well as for a primitive form of steam heating.  It took four pages of detailed drawings to describe the internal arrangements, including a complicated system of  flues and dampers to make the system controllable.   Spaulding's innovations extended to include mounting his sliding oven doors on rollers running in grooves, to minimize friction.  



John Brereton, New York City, Cooking Range, Pat. 2,569, 1842.



Brereton was a mason, i.e. like Spaulding he was one of the artisans who constructed and installed ranges rather than, like Pierce, Barrows, and the Stimpsons, somebody with his roots in the foundry and stove trades.  His "Housewife's Assistant" was a much cruder device than Spaulding's and, as their different craft backgrounds probably explained, basically brick-built with far fewer iron parts.  It was a "cheap and simple apparatus, which may serve conveniently for the purposes of a common fire place or grate for warming an apartment, and at the same time, serve with equal convenience for all the common culinary purposes, having also, due regard to the greatest economy of fuel."  It had an open basket grate for burning anthracite or perhaps still bituminous coal, with no boiler, just two cooking holes in the iron hearth above the fire, and an elevated oven in the chimney, whose only moderately interesting feature was a double bottom with an insulating air space between "to prevent articles being baked in the oven from burning at the bottom," something  Brereton had to exclude from his patent claim because it was quite unoriginal.  

Brereton's range is mostly worth looking at for showing what an entry-level, craftsman-built device, simpler than any British range or kitchener, was like -- for less wealthy households wanting something similar to the traditional cooking fire but a bit more serviceable.  It is quite unlikely that any of those he installed would have survived for long without being replaced by something much more versatile.


William Beebe, New York City. Cooking Stove, Pat. 2,7101842.



Beebe described himself as a "manufacturer" in his patent application.  In the 1842 city directory he described his business as simply "stoves," but in 1843 and until 1854 he changed it to "cooking ranges," so we can assume that his decision to specialize in supplying the growing demand for these new and costly appliances was successful.  Beebe's range was as different from Brereton's as chalk and cheese -- a grand iron kitchener with two large ovens and six cooking holes, the central two of which and the oval plate in which they were fixed could be removed entirely for grilling over the fire.  

The essence of Beebe's all-iron range, designed to fit into a large cooking fireplace but not built-in or part-brick like most of its competitors, was its internal arrangement of flues and dampers to heat the ovens evenly and give the cook greater control over the heat.  This is what it enabled it to move the ovens to ground level.  Beebe's device was not intended to serve as a warm-air furnace too -- presumably households wealthy enough to be able to afford it would already have one installed in the basement.  Instead, the large flap x above the range, controlled by handle y, was a vent into the chimney "to carry off ... any steam or vapor from the cooking in progress below, and serve to ventilate the room or apartment if too warm," providing greater comfort and convenience for the staff at the tolerable cost of wasting heat and fuel.  
  

Moses Pond, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 2,9901843.



Moses Pond was a long-established Boston stove merchant who, like the Stimpsons, with whom he had cooperated, had depended since the 1820s on David Cooper Wood's New Jersey furnace for his stove castings and, also like them, was branching out in the early 1840s into supplying the growing demand from wealthy city households for a new kind of cooking appliance.  Like Beebe's, his was a huge, heavy, grand, and imposing installation, internally even more complicated because it was intended, like the Stimpsons', to serve as an air-heating furnace as well as for all of a large household's cooking.  


Ambrose W. Thompson, Philadelphia, PA. Kitchen Range, Pat. 3,501, 1844.



Nothing very distinctive about this -- it's included mostly because of the nice clear drawing of a very derivative brick-set kitchener.  Thompson's supposed improvement was the addition of yet another an air-warming chamber allowing the range to use heat which would otherwise have been wasted to warm upstairs rooms.  As we can see from the many above examples, this was hardly original.  Thompson was just an ordinary plagiarist -- his kitchener's sliding and fold-down oven and firebox doors seem to have been inspired by some of his competitors' established practice, notably the Barrows range, probably the most available in the city's market.  By profession he was, and remained, a stationer; I have not seen his range advertised, even in his home city, where the only dedicated range manufacturer at the time was 


Julius Fink, Philadelphia, PA. Kitchen Range, Pat. 3,533, 1844.



Julius Fink was a furnace (1841-) and cooking range (1844-) manufacturer with premises on Chestnut Street.  Unlike Thompson, Fink achieved originality in his design, and went on to win a First Premium from the Franklin Institute for it.  The following year he added "pipes for the circulation of hot water," a "commendable improvement."  [Franklin Institute 1845, p. 407].  He advertised it to consumers as the "Celebrated Premium Cooking Range," and alerted them to the fact that "every other similar production, sold as the Premium Range, is an imposition, as this proprietor has no agency or connection elsewhere" -- something which guaranteed only a limited, local market for his design, however good it was, and unlike other inventors including Pierce and Barrows, who already did have sales agents in the city by 1840, well before Fink got started.  [McElroy's Philadelphia Directory, 1844, p. 16.]  

Fink claimed greater fuel economy for his triangular firebox, increased oven size, and more working space and boiler holes on the top of his stove.  The ability to enclose the stove top with sliding doors can only have been for limiting the emission of cooking smells into the house, something of an obsession at the time.  Fink remained in business through the rest of the decade, and was still the only recorded cooking range manufacturer in Philadelphia as late as 1850.


Herbert H. Stimpson, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 3,5871844, reissued as Reissued Patent No. 84, 1846.

Stimpson's new range did not look much different from his 1838 model, but he had altered the internal arrangements (the flues and dampers) to heat the oven.  The aim, and claimed achievement, was "to equally, or thoroughly distribute the heat over the exterior of the oven, and permit the operations of baking and boiling, to be carried on" at the same time, without interfering with one another.





The 1846 reissue includes modifications of the above -- a way of strengthening patent claims by amendments to clarify and limit them.  Stimpson, or his patent agents, spelt out that his was a three-flue system -- one for each "boiling chamber" either side of the central fire, and the main flue from the fire itself -- "whereby the heat can can be regulated on any part of the oven, the temperature of one part increased or decreased at pleasure by means of the dampers without producing a corresponding change in the other parts."  In earlier ranges, he explained, "the oven is heated by the single main flue, ... or by the two ... boiler flues," so that, for example, if you needed more heat for cooking on the stove top there was less for the oven, and vice versa, "and therefore baking cannot be carried out with the same nicety as in mine, where any of the three flues may be wholly or partly closed and thus heat  regulated at pleasure."  


Moses Pond, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 4,064, 1845.

It is difficult to be very sure about what exactly Pond was claiming to be new about this design, because he spent more time saying what he didn't claim, to save himself from legal challenges that this represented no advance on his own Pat. 2990 two years earlier, or Stimpson's Pat. 3589.  It was another three-boiler, three-flue range with its oven above and behind the top plate.  Pond's was still an air-warming stove as well as an improved range.  Like Stimpson, and indeed like almost any other stove designer of the time, he asserted that his particular arrangement of flues and dampers led to superior cooking quality -- "baking evenly and without burning the articles in the oven."


1845 Moses Pond Billhead (detail), Historic New England Ephemera Collection.


Jordan L. Mott, New York City. Cooking Range, Pat. 4,248, 1845.



Jordan Mott, New York City's leading stove designer and builder since the early 1830s, produced a range that seemed to combine some features of Fink's (two large, low-level ovens and two distinct working spaces either side of the fire) and some from Barrows's (the drop-down doors) with the rotary top from his and others' cooking stoves at the time, which enabled the cook to bring any one of the four cooking holes near to hand for working, and directly over, or further from, the fire, to control cooking heat.  There was a single big cooking hole over the left-hand oven, for a very large boiler (most likely for domestic water heating).  There was also a space behind the fire "for water back for heating water for bathing and other purposes."  In addition, the range had Mott's patented fuel-feed door above the fire, for ease and safety in refuelling.  

Mott explained that his stove-derived layout, with each oven wrapped in damper-controlled flues, and the rotary top, allowed for larger ovens in a more compact, convenient, and user-friendly appliance: "As ranges are usually set within the fire-place, there is no way of removing the boilers from the top except over the front, which has been very inconvenient and by some persons almost impracticable with those heretofore in use, particularly when boilers are set in the rear, or when the breast of the chimney is low."  

Mott's experienced attention to practical details of manufacture and use showed throughout his comparatively short, concise description.  "The sides and back of the fire-chambers against which the linings rest, are so made that a section of each can readily be removed when defective by burning out and its place supplied at a small expense.  In the top plate of the ovens I usually make depressions from one half to one inch in depth to receive sand, ashes or other bad conductors of heat, which serve to equalize the heat in the oven by preventing the top baking faster than the bottom."

Mott's was not what would later be termed a fully "portable" range, but it pointed the way.  It was the product of a stove maker rather than of a specialist range-builder.  Unlike those of most of his competitors, Mott's range was factory-built and (probably) partially assembled, then shipped and installed as a unit.  It was not customized and then built in situ.  It dispensed with the inconvenient oven behind and above the stove, and it was built with the user in mind.  


Herbert H. Stimpson, Boston, MA. Cooking Range Back, Pat. 4,516,1846.

Designed to address a basic problem in ranges like his, with an air-heating chamber behind the fireplace: cracking of the iron plates between them in repeated cycles of heating and cooling, admitting "gas that vitiates the heated air, and renders it unwholesome." 


1846 Stimpson Range Ad., Boston Courier clipping, Historic New England Ephemera Collection.  Spells out its difference from, and superiority over, Moses Pond's "and all other Ranges."  Note the hot-water cylinder and tap built into the brickwork to the left of the range.


Julius Fink, Philadelphia, PA. Cooking Range, Pat. 4,550, 1846.

A modification and simplification of his earlier design -- just four boiler-holes, and no sliding screens to shut off the cooking top (perhaps American households were getting used to cooking smells, or simply appreciated that shutting off the range's working surface was an inconvenience not worth having?).  It demonstrates his response to his ranges' performance in practice, and his customers' needs: "It is a point of much importance to construct a range in such manner  as that it may readily be removed from one fire-place to another with little or no disturbance of the brick work, or occasion for expensive setting."  Portability would suit range users who rented their houses rather than owning them, and might expect as frequently as every year, or even owner-occupiers who did not wish to leave an expensive fixed investment behind when they left.  He achieved this objective by redesigning the range and also by building more of it from large cast-iron plates rather than, presumably, sheet-iron riveted together.  The range had space for a water-back, and also for the warm-air heating facility that residents of multi-storey city houses seemed to appreciate.


George E. Waring & Alexander S. Wolcott, Stamford, CT. Cook Stove / Kitchen-Range, Pat. 4,599, 1846.



Described as a "Cook Stove" on the drawing and a "Kitchen-Range" in the description, perhaps because, like Mott's, it was really a hybrid of the two, a free-standing foundry-manufactured cook stove with a broad front, made to be installed into a quite small, flaring fireplace opening but not built-in.  There were the usual claims about the uniqueness of its flues, to provide enough patentable matter.  Waring spelled out that though what they patented was a single-oven design, they contemplated making a larger, more range-like version with an oven either side of the fire.  Note the top of the range, with five cooking holes, four of them with removable centre-pieces ):( in the style of up-to-date, high-end cook stoves.  These allowed large griddles or oval boilers to be used, as well as round utensils.  This feature had also showed up in Beebe's great set range of 1842.  Waring and Wolcott, like Mott and Fink, were designing and making ranges more suited to American middle-class urban households who were, by the mid-1840s, used to stove cooking and its conveniences, but needed (and could afford) the greater capacity only provided by the range.  


John P. Hayes, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 4,720, 1846.

Hayes was a Boston coppersmith.  His patent drawings make his range look like just another large, heavy, expensive, complicated, built-in set range for wealthy urban households.  His principal claim on its behalf was quite a common one among stove inventors, better baking -- in his case to be achieved by pre-heating air to ventilate the oven and assist the cooking.  Many Americans, used to properly roast meat (i.e. cooked by radiant heat in front of a fire) were prejudiced against the taste and wholesomeness of meat baked in a closed iron oven.  Hayes, like other inventors dealing with this source of inexperienced consumers' resistance to stoves, claimed that his arrangement enabled them to "bake to a much better advantage" and rendered "meats or other articles ... much more palatable than when cooked in the confined air of a close oven, as is the general custom."  His range's air-heating passages could also be used to warm air for space heating purposes.


Adams's Boston Directory, 1847-1848, p. 321.

From a contemporary advertisement we can see that Hayes's range was actually turned into a marketable product, perhaps by its manufacturer and seller, a local stove firm that must have bought his patent rights.  The way this was done was by turning it into a free-standing appliance, so that "It can be set in any ordinary fireplace, with as little trouble as a common cookstove.  By purchasing this Range, you get a better article, and save from $8 to $10 mason work.  [$5,610 - $6,730 at 2016 relative values] It is as easily removed and set up again as any common stove."  A.A. Lincoln, the stove's maker and vendor, clearly understood how the market for ranges could be grown: by making them cheaper, more convenient, and more like the stoves that consumers were already familiar with.  As we have seen already, in the mid-1840s other inventors and manufacturers with their roots in the stove trade were reaching the same, to be honest pretty obvious, conclusion.



Moses Pond, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 4,830, 1846.

Another large, brick-set range, but with six boiler holes rather than the usual three, because it was "very desirable to increase the capacity of a range by the addition of other boilers."  As we have seen, many other designers had already managed to include more than three boiler holes, whether in brick-set ranges like Pierce's, or more stove-like arrangements such as Mott's and Waring & Wolcott's.  What Pond meant was probably that competitors and innovations such as these had shown up the limitations of ranges like his earlier models, Barrows's, and Stimpson's, and helped drive imitative improvement.  Mott claimed that his redesign enabled him "greatly to increase the capacity of my cooking range, and to regulate the boiling more efficiently than by any other means known to me."  


Samuel Pierce, Troy, NY. Hot Air Cooking Range, Pat. 5,248, 1847.

Similar to Waring & Wolcott's in shape, and to Mott's, Fink's, and Hayes's in character, i.e. an all-cast unit, made to be installed into a cooking fireplace rather than built in, but (unlike Waring & Wolcott's) too large and heavy to sit on its own legs, so squatting directly on the kitchen floor.  Pierce was by this time a stove rather than a range maker, and was based in Troy, the centre of stove innovation.  His range had a closed firebox like a stove rather than the open fire still common among range builders.  It also incorporated a stove innovation -- heating air to circulate through the oven (see the Hayes range, above) in chambers around the firebox, and then discharging the spent air into the ash pit, to increase the efficiency of combustion.  His brother George advertised in 1848 that "recent improvements" made their ranges "decidedly more convenient and economical than any in the market."


John M. Dearborn, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 6,198, 1849.

Dearborn was not a novice inventor -- his first patent, 2785X, had been for a pump, in 1817.  He started in business as a machinist and machinery seller in the 1820s and 1830s, but by 1840 he had moved into the growing stove trade, running a "stove factory" as well as serving as a sealer of weights and measures.  Between the 1847 and 1848 issues of the city directory he changed the way he described himself: now his business was Ranges, as it would remain until his retirement in the late 1860s.



Dearborn's range, like Hayes's, was a free-standing appliance, probably made to sit on round ball feet rather than a stove's standard cabriolet legs because they suited its weight better.  It was stove-like in other respects too, e.g. the rotary vents in the front of the boiler chamber, firebox, and oven (A); the small auxiliary ovens beneath the boiler chamber (left) and the main oven (right), "very useful for simply warming pies bread or other matters when the main oven may be in use," and occupying space usually wasted, "in all ranges I have heretofore seen, filled with brick"; and the fact that the firebox could be closed with an iron door "when necessary, or when it may be desirable to burn the fuel by the process of slow combustion, adopted in what is usually termed the air-tight stoves."  

Dearborn's customers could have the best of both worlds -- they could roast meat in a tin kitchen in front of the fire, or they could close it up, use less fuel, and be less likely to be burnt when working at the stove.  They could also burn long wood as well as coal, another way in which he increased his pool of potential customers to include rural and small-town households in communities where wood was still the principal fuel.  Fuel-saving was one of Dearborn's main claims: his range was "admirably adapted for the economical use of fuel, perhaps more than any other one heretofore made." 


1848 Boston City Directory, advertising section, p. 15.

As with Hayes's range, an advertisement allows us to visualize and understand the real thing consumers bought and used even better than the detailed patent drawings.  Note (a) the fact that the range was available in different sizes, the six boiler hole type suitable for ordinary prosperous households (at a time when stoves only had four), the fourteen-hole probably designed for hotels, restaurants, and institutional kitchens; (b) the emphasis on the obvious convenience of having an oven at the front of the range rather than raised above and behind it, as in most set ranges.  Dearborn's range is shown installed into an old cooking fireplace alcove, like a set range, but it could also be free-standing; it was thus, as advertised, both "portable and stationary."


Frederick S. Merritt, New York City. Cooking Range, Pat. 6,264, 1849.




Merritt was a Manhattan tinsmith between 1845 and 1850, when he moved his business to the city's stove district and changed its description to stove manufacture and, by 1852, stove and range warehouse.  His range was "constructed, as ranges commonly are at the present day, of iron castings or plates."  It was 3'9" wide, a mere 1'8" high, and 1'10" deep, with two ovens either side of a central fire chamber, and six cooking holes, i.e. small but entirely conventional.  Its claimed uniqueness, and advantages, resided, as with other inventors', in its internal arrangements, giving it both fuel economy and cooking quality: it was an "unequaled" baker, with flues on all sides of the ovens "in such a manner that the baking is done in a most satisfactory and expeditious manner.... by opening and closing the dampers, the draft may be turned, and the heat concentrated upon almost any point at pleasure."  He called it "The Ladies' Friend."


From E. Porter Belden, New-York, Past, Present, and Future (1850), p. 121.


Philip Rollhaus, Port Chester, NY. Cooking Range, Pat. 6,715, 1849.

Rollhaus first showed up in the city directory in 1845, in partnership with William P. Abendroth, living and running a stove foundry at Port Chester, 30 miles north-east on Long Island Sound, and selling stoves from a Water Street warehouse.  They also manufactured and sold the "newly improved" Barrows Range, "decidedly the best in the United States.  It is the most economical in fuel and by it a far greater amount of cooking can be done than by any other."  By 1847 he was in business on his own account, and began to specialize in ranges, a trade he remained in for the following decade.


From E. Porter Belden, New-York, Past, Present, and Future (1850), p. 121. Note the hot-water cylinder and the decorative front. 

Rollhaus's range was like Merritt's, conventional in appearance and arrangement but distinguished from others by the flues around its ovens.  Rollhaus's were adapted from stove practice -- "diving flues," i.e. the hot air was made to circulate from above the top plate of the oven, down the sides and up the back, "causing the bread or other articles being baked to be heated on all sides alike."  The patent record is incomplete -- it lacks the main illustration -- but an 1850 advertisement shows a large model of his "Knickerbocker" range installed, with eight cooking holes and a hot-water cylinder. 



Nicholas Mason, Roxbury, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 6,923, 1849.

Mason's range was, he claimed, "compact and convenient ... capable of supplying all the wants pertaining to the culinary department, as well as to form a heater to warm the rooms of the house in which it is situated, with a slight amount of fuel considering the benefits accomplished."  It had one oven to the left of the fire, one above and behind it, and a water boiler to the right.  It made the usual claims about the uniqueness of its internal arrangements, but was just another variant on the built-in brick-set range.
  

James MacGregor, Jr., New York City. Cooking Range & Air-Heating Furnace Connected Therewith, Pat. 7,1421850.


The top plate, showing detachable pieces allowing the four central "direct" (above the fire rather than heated via the oven flues) boiler holes to be configured as one very large hole, two large ovals, or just one per pair.  This flexibility must have been worthwhile to cooks for MacGregor to emphasize it so much. 

Another large (eight-hole) built-in combination cooking and heating range, with three special features: "a constant circulation of hot air" in the ovens, for the same reasons as in Hayes's 1846 patent 4720; detachable pieces in the top plate allowing boiler holes to be combined with one another into extra-large holes, a development of a standard stove-top feature already seen in Mott's in 1845, No. 4248, and Waring & Wolcott's in 1846,No. 4599; and springs on the hinges of Barrows-pattern drop-down doors, to prevent them from fracturing either themselves or the range front if they crashed down by accident.  

MacGregor was an upstate New Yorker with two patents to his name already -- for a Heating Stove, No. 4350, 1846, and a Cooking Stove, No. 5296, 1847.  His first range patent was accompanied by two others for an Air-Heating Furnace, No. 7143, and a Double-Oven Cooking Stove, No. 7193, in the same year, and then a Cooking Stove and Range, No. 11673, in 1854 (see below).  MacGregor established himself as a Manhattan "Patentee, manufacturer and dealer in heating furnaces, hot air cooking ranges, register frames, steam boilers, coffee and tea pots, corn and bark mills, &c, wholesale and retail" (1856 Directory) on the strength of these and other useful innovations.


Herbert H. Stimpson, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 7,151, 1850.




Stimpson was attempting to compete with some of the New York-style set ranges illustrated above, with their low-down ovens and growing numbers of boiler holes, by improving his old-style range with its oven behind and above the fire, and just three big cooking holes.  He called this the "Double Range," though he could still only manage to squeeze in four holes.  He admitted that in ranges made like his older ones "the products of combustion in passing from the fire chamber to the flues around the oven, can only strike against a small part of each of the two back boilers."  A new arrangement of flues and dampers was supposed to get around this drawback.  Whether it worked well enough to sustain his range layout as a competitor for more sophisticated New York ranges is another question.  Probably the most interesting feature of this patent is the clarity of the drawings, showing the internal arrangement of this style of direct-draft range.


Elias T. Beers, Honesdale. PA. Cooking Range & Heating Air, Pat. 7,2311850.

Another of the many early ranges aiming to do everything -- cook, heat water, and warm air -- with a single substantial, built-in piece of equipment.  Nothing particularly interesting about it, and, as it was very clearly built in situ rather than manufactured and/or assembled, even if Beers succeeded in selling any, his market cannot have been large.


Herbert H. & Frederick H. Stimpson, Boston, MA. Water-Back for Cooking Ranges, Pat. 7,401, 1850.

Another practical improvement from two of the most experienced range-designers in the country, intended to improve the functioning of water-backs by making them easier to install and repair, and less liable to clog up from the deposition of sediment in the water supplies, private or public, on which they depended. 


Moses Pond, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 7,946, 1851, reissued as Reissued Pat. 240, 1853.



A new type of built-in range, with the oven still elevated, but offset to the side of the firebox and four-hole stove-top, i.e. the cook would no longer need to stand straight in front of the fire and to reach across the top in order to access the oven.  Pond was also responding, like the Stimpsons, to the increasing demand for water-backs as a standard feature, designing his so that it could cope with being installed in a fireplace alcove with pipework on the left or the right.

Pond and the Stimpsons, former collaborators, were by this time deadly (or at least litigious) rivals in their ongoing quest for local market leadership.  The judges at the Sixth Exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association (New England's equivalent of Philadelphia's Franklin and New York's American Institute annual competitive displays of manufactured goods) in 1850 were unable to reach a conclusion about whose were best, so they fudged it: "were each individual of the board called upon to purchase a Range for his own use, he would select Pond's or Stimpson's newest pattern... We are aware that, in regard to the priority of invention, in some parts of their respective Ranges, there is an open question between the proprietors of Stimpson's and of Pond's; but, inasmuch as our opinion upon that question, would be conclusive as against neither party, we deem it neither in our power nor within our province to enter upon it." [p.79] 


A small Pond "Union" Range of the kind the Judges recommended, "with an elevated oven, on the side of the coal chamber," installed by President Martin Van Buren in the basement kitchen of his mansion "Lindenwald," Kinderhook, NY.  According to the National Park Service, Van Buren, "at the vanguard of heating technology" [1979 Inventory, p. 3], had also installed a warm-air furnace in 1848, so would not have needed a large range for heating purposes. 

Moses Pond advertising broadside, c. 1852, American Antiquarian Society.  Available online to Newsbank subscribers. In case the text is hard to read:
  • They advertised to "dealers, and to those desirous of setting a Range for their own use, either for Private Families, Boarding Houses, or Hotels."
  • They claimed to have sold "several hundred" since introducing it in 1851, which had (of course) given "ENTIRE SATISFACTION."
  • They came in six sizes, "suitable for the smallest private family, or a hotel of the largest class," with from four to eight boiler holes, and burning wood or coal equally well.
  • Key features were: the offset elevated oven, "rendering it accessible, without the necessity of reaching over the fire while baking"; the arrangement of boiler holes directly over the fire, so that they all boiled readily, unlike perhaps the Stimpsons'; a single damper, located far enough from the fire not to go out of order, rather than the numerous and vulnerable dampers in other ranges; the option to fit a wash boiler to one side, heated from the same fire, or a "Water Back, for heating water for bathing, and for other purposes"; and the option of "Hot Air Fixtures, to warm additional rooms."
  • The broadside included endorsements from satisfied customers (not shown above, because the print would be illegibly small), mostly from Boston and other Massachusetts towns, but also from as far afield as Charlottesville, VA,  and New York City.  The largest was a hotel cooking for 200 people a day.  Another reported, with astonishment, that theirs would do all of the cooking for "a family of 40" for a week on just a third of a ton (c. 700 lb) of anthracite, baking up to 16 pies at a time, whereas when they had used cook stoves they had consumed "full a half cord (a ton) of best hard wood, per week."  One noted that "Mrs B. and the cook are delighted with it," another that his had only cost $30 plus $10 for setting -- the equivalent of $20,000 nowadays, using the "Production Worker Compensation" method of comparison, i.e. more than half the average annual pay of a blue-collar production worker ($37,190 in 2016).  This emphasizes how large an investment a range represented, and therefore how narrow, but perhaps reasonably, lucrative, a segment of the household market Pond was aiming at.


Nicholas Mason, Roxbury, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 8,302, 1851.



An improvement on his 1849 patent, sharing many of the same features, but including a large brick oven M above and behind the fire, as well as the low-level iron oven B.  Mason did not explain why a brick oven, albeit one heated by convection from the single firebox rather than in the old-fashioned way, by making a quick-burning wood fire within it, was such a good idea.  If I could find any advertisements for it, that would probably be the place to find the explanation.  But I assume that it would consist of partly (a) nostalgia -- an appeal to consumers who continued to believe that traditional brick ovens baked the best bread, and also (b) practicality, though achieved at some cost.  Note how much attention patentees gave to designing arrangements for heating iron-box ovens evenly, ventilating them, etc., which are just different ways of suggesting that first-generation range ovens did indeed have problems.  A brick oven, slow to heat up but evening it out and retaining it for a long time, might have worked quite well. 


John P. Hayes, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 8,685, 1852.

Another large, complicated set range, with two independent elevated ovens, one either side of the top plate (i.e. accessible to the cook without having to lean across the top of the fire) and the capacity to generate warm air for heating other rooms in the house.  Most of Hayes's claimed innovations related to the shape of the oven heating flues (a detail he seems to have borrowed from, or perhaps, charitably, invented after, but independently of, Jordan Mott) and oven ventilation.


George S.G. Spence, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 9,393, 1852.

Very similar to the 1851 Pond patent, but with the oven on the left of the fire rather than the right.  All of the patentable invention was contained in Spence's peculiar arrangement of oven flues, designed to do exactly the same as others claimed for their oven flues -- heat the oven evenly and efficiently -- but, of course, to do it better.


Benjamin Wardwell, Fall River, MA, and Ephraim A. Barstow, Providence, RI. Cooking Range, Des. Pat. 513, 1852.


The photographs of the blackened cast iron plates do not reproduce very well in the online patent records.  The two plates on the left are the top of the oven (with oval smoke pipe exit) and the top plate above the firebox (with circular boiler holes within a raised circular rim).  The squiggly lines trace the profiles of particular plates.  

This was the very first range design patent (for design patents, see my article "'The Stove Trade Needs Change Continually'," Winterthur Portfolio 2009, esp. pp. 376-85).  By 1852 about 80 percent of heating and cooking appliance patents were for designs rather than improvements, i.e. ornamentation and external appearance rather than construction and function.  Wardwell and Barstow's decision to go down the cheaper, easier Design Patent route, makes perfect sense.  It was simple to establish patentable originality, and by the 1852 one could even submit a photograph of the object you wanted to patent rather than the more expensive technical drawing, possibly supplemented with a model, required for an "improvement."  

As we can see from some of the above patents, range inventors were already struggling to establish minor patentable differences between their designs and their competitors'; and by the early 1850s the market for ranges was becoming large enough for it to be worthwhile to begin to distinguish one's products from other near-identical products on grounds of their appearance rather than their functionality.  As ranges began to be foundry-made products rather than customized installations artisan-built on site, it also became more possible to think of them as, at least potentially, well-finished consumer durables that householders would buy because they would look nice in the kitchen rather than simply because they would do the job.

Wardwell & Barstow's range was essentially the same as Pond's 1851 patent, and might even have been built under licence (only the manuscript Patent Office records might confirm that) if not in conscious violation of it.  They were both foundry-made products designed to be installed into a relatively small fireplace opening, and probably bought semi-assembled.  What distinguished their range from Pond's and others was simply the decoration of the well-finished plates: "a wheat sheaf surrounded by a running vine" on the larger fireplace, oven, and warming chamber doors, and "a truncated pyramidal, lozenge shaped projection from which spring in opposite directions two lance heads.  In line of each of these lance heads there is another lance head in a reversed position, the whole being in a sunken panel and surrounded by a cordon of mouldings" on the other side and front plates.  We can see these more clearly in their advertisement than in the patent application:


Ad. in George Adams, The Rhode Island Register for the Year 1853, unpaginated front matter.


Alexander McPherson, New York City. Cooking Range, Pat. 9,6741853.



Another 8-hole kitchener with two ovens either side of the firebox, and drop-down doors, i.e. very similar to e.g. MacGregor's of 1850.  McPherson had been in the stove business in Manhattan since at least 1845, and began to describe himself as running a stove and range warehouse in 1852, alternating between the old and new descriptions for the next several years.  His range was of the kind designed to be slotted into a kitchen fireplace aperture, rather than built in.

If MacGregor did not notice or object to the obvious similarities between their patents and products, the same was not true for another of their neighbors, Philip Rollhaus, who took McPherson to court in 1855 claiming $2,500 [c. $1-1.2M at 2016 values, using the Nominal GDP per cap. and Production Worker Compensation measures of comparison] for the infringement of his oven flue design.  Rollhaus's case failed, because McPherson's flues were only similar, not identical, and the judge even questioned whether Rollhaus's flues were particularly different from well established practice.  [Rollhaus v. McPherson, U.S. Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York, 20 Jan. 1855.]  

The heart of McPherson's patent was in any case the firebox design -- supposedly highly efficient, because of its inclusion of an air pre-heater to encourage secondary combustion, a feature of stove grates at the time -- rather than the oven flues. 


Gibson North, Philadelphia, PA. Cooking Stove & Range Oven Door, Pat. 9,948, 1853.

North was an experienced Philadelphia stove maker.  His patent -- for enameling the inside of stove or range oven doors, to reduce heat loss -- is indicative of what seems to me to be the most important trend in range design and construction by the early 1850s: its convergence with the much larger stove industry, which was alone capable of turning the range from a niche-market, almost exclusively urban product, a custom, semi-custom, or at most small-batch manufacture, into something capable of finding a mass market.
  

Nicholas Mason, Roxbury, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 10,0461853.

Similar to Pond's "Union" Range and Wardell & Barstow's, i.e. a four-boiler, offset elevated oven range.  Mason's achievement was to turn the lower "warming chamber" of this design into a proper oven in its own right, capable of being used in tandem with or independently of the main (upper) oven, whereby "both puddings and meats may be cooked at the same time, without injuring the flavor of the one  by the other, and by the arrangement of flues which I have adopted, either one or both of them may be in operation at the same time."  He also included a novel design of water back, a hollow cast-iron jamb, allowing the back of the fire to be used for warming air for space heating instead.  



George S.G. Spence, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 10,076, 1853

Another improvement on Pond's, like Mason's, but in this case Spence still had just the one oven, and emphasized instead the air-warming secondary function of the range.  In most elevated-oven ranges, he claimed, the oven and the air-heater could not be used at the same time, but in his they could.


Hayes, John P. Boston, MA. Cooking Range,  Pat. 10,097, 1853.

Another elevated-oven range with secondary air-warming, a development of his 1852 patent with a new oven and "an arrangement for preventing the smell of anything which is being cooked in the oven from passing into the hot air chamber and penetrating into the apartments, which are heated by the range, an objection which has hitherto been experienced in nearly all cooking ranges," including his 1852 model.  Hayes's plan and cross-sectional views of his range demonstrate the increasing technical sophistication of range design and manufacture, even with a range that looked externally much more similar to other recent examples of its type.



Plan views from above the oven and hot plate, and of the hot plate alone, with cross-section of the oven.  Note the number of detachable pieces in the hot plate, allowing different configurations of boiler holes.


Cross-sections showing firebox and oven.  Note the part-masonry, part cast-iron construction.

A surviving 1856 broadside from one of Hayes's dealers and distributors (Peters & Johnson, of Philadelphia), lets us know that this was marketed as Hayes's "Welcome Cooking Range and Heater."   By that time Hayes's 4-boiler range was sold with a double elevated oven, offset to one side.  The ovens could be independently controlled, so that one could bake and roast at same time, and there was also a hot closet for warming dishes.  He also supplied "a portable summer front, shutting off effectually nearly all the heat from the kitchen,... therefore saving the trouble and expense of a gas oven or summer range." [See below, patents ##].  There was an "abundance of hot water for bathing and other purposes, and sufficient hot air to warm adjoining rooms, and requires no more fuel than an ordinary single oven range."  

Altogether it was, of course, "perfect... the most popular one, and the best we have ever offered to the public."  It had been awarded a First Premium at the Franklin Institute, and was endorsed by a long list of Peters & Johnson's satisfied customers -- "Gentlemen" (no women, whether housewives or cooks, seemed to have a worhthwhile opinion about it) from the city and its suburbs, notably Chestnut Hill and  Germantown, the towns of south-eastern Pennsylvania (West Chester, Lancaster, Wilkesbarre, Mauch Chunk, and Easton, 40-110 miles away), from New Castle, Smyrna, and Wilmington in neighbouring Delaware (30 to 70 miles), from southern New Jersey (20 miles), and even from as far away as Frederick, Maryland (150 miles).  [Endorsement or subscription lists are often interesting, providing one of the few ways of gauging the location and extent of the market for goods -- in this case, mostly just the city, but extending quite far out into its region, presumably because a top-quality range was still quite hard to find.]


Garretson Smith & Henry Brown, Philadelphia, PA. Portable Range, Des. Pat. 557, 1853.

The partners Smith & Brown were just starting out in business, on their way to becoming Philadelphia's leading stove designers and pattern-makers.  Here they turned their skills to prettifying the plates of a small "portable range" (much like the Victor Range illustrated at the start of this blog post).  As was usual with design patents, their design was assigned to (i.e. bought, and had probably been commissioned by) a major stove manufacturing firm, North, Chase & North.  "The ornamental work is composed of a combination of vines spears, scrolls, chains, tears, bosses and mouldings as represented in the drawings," i.e. a tasteful mish-mash of standard carpenter gothic motifs.   


John C. Smith, Philadelphia, PA. Portable Range, Des. Pat. 559, 1853.



A better drawing of a very similar product for North, Chase & North's local competitors, Warnick & Leibrandt (for whom see this post).


Reuben H.N. Bates, Providence, RI. Cooking Range, Des. Pat. 587, 1853.

A curious case.  Bates assigned his design to North, Chase & North, of Philadelphia.  It consisted of versions of the same motifs included in Wardwell & Barstow's Design Patent 513 of the previous year -- redrawn and differently described, e.g. "a bundle of aras edges, some of which are straight & others more or less curved," rather than Wardwell & Bristow's "sheaf of wheat," and "spear points" rather than "lance heads."  How to explain this?  A possibility is that Bates, one of Providence's three pattern makers, may have been the artisan who actually turned Wardwell & Barstow's design into a pattern, and either with or without their consent decided to sell something very similar, to a customer in a market far enough away (if we can assume that range markets were still confined to particular city-regions) that the plagiarism, if that is what it was, was unlikely to be discovered.  


Denis Donovan & Witchell G. Hallman, Philadelphia, PA. Cooking Range, Pat. 11,048, 1854.

Assigned to Henry J. White [??].  Improvements to a small, otherwise fairly standard-single oven range, "by which we make a compact and variable oven, and provide at the same time for the effectual escape of the fumes from cooking."


Daniel Willis, New York City. Range / Apparatus for Cooking & Warming, Pat. 11399, 1854.

Willis was an established member of the stove trade -- in the city directories for 1847 and 1848 -- with a single entry for his range business in the year of his patent, 1854.  His design was for a very complex range and air-heater with an unusual firebox and an elevated oven.  He claimed many advantages for it, but it does not seem to have influenced subsequent range design at all, or to have provided him with much employment.


John H. Cahill, Philadelphia, PA. Hot-Air Range & Side Oven, Pat. 11,516, 1854.

A conventional brick-set range with four boiler holes in the top plate and an offset elevated oven, as well as a dual function as an air-warming furnace.  Cahill's patent claims were all about his "peculiar mode" of arranging his flues, for heating and ventilating the oven, and warming the air for space heating.  Cahill was an iron worker.  I have seen no positive evidence (e.g. advertisements) that any maker took up his ideas, or that they were converted into saleable goods.  


James MacGregor, Jr. New York City. Cooking Stove & Range, Pat. 11,673, 1854.

A large (10 boiler-hole, 2-oven) range, with a water back.  MacGregor's improvements to a conventional range layout were designed to "greatly facilitat[e]" baking, "with more certainty and economy."  They concentrated upon firebox and oven flue design and construction.  An interesting detail is that "[t]he firebox is, generally, to be kept about full of coal and is not generally allowed to go out at night."  MacGregor's range was probably intended for a big, prosperous household or perhaps a hotel -- somewhere with plenty of servants and no great concern about saving fuel or their labor.  As we saw above, MacGregor was an experienced stove, range, and furnace inventor, who had recently moved from Upstate New York (Wilton, Saratoga, and then Troy, center of stove innovation) to Manhattan, the largest market for his goods.


Daniel P. Weeks, Malden, MA. Oven Cooking Range, Pat. 12,110, 1854.

Another Boston-style range with four boiler holes and an offset, elevated oven.  As usual, Weeks's innovations were all in his oven flues -- enough patentable difference to distinguish his stove from Pond's.  Weeks was and remainedBoston blacksmith, i.e. entirely capable of building and installing his own ranges; but whether he persuaded any of the city's major range manufacturers to adopt his ideas, and make himself some more money thereby, could only be worked out from manuscript patent records. 



John Abendroth, Port Chester, NY. Cooking Stove or Summer-Range, Des. Pat. 644, 1854.



Abendroth was a member of one of the leading firms of New York stove makers, formerly in partnership with Philip Rollhaus.  The range itself was "constructed in any of the ordinary forms," i.e. the Summer Range must have been by this time a generic stove type with no functional details worth patenting; the best way to differentiate one from another in the market was therefore by attractive appearance.  It is interesting, but not at all surprising, to see that established stove makers' route into range-making was via the most stove-like of ranges -- lightweight, small, portable, and principally intended to supplement a household's main kitchen stove.  


Samuel W. Gibbs, Albany, NY. Gas Oven or Summer-Range Door, Des. Pat. 647, 1854.

Gibbs was Albany's most prolific and perhaps influential stove designer.  This design was assigned to North, Chase & North of Philadelphia.  It does not really belong here, except that it reminds us that, in some city markets, households were acquiring a different way of satisfying their needs for a warm-season cooking appliance: not just the coal-fired summer range, but the earliest gas stoves, basically just iron or masonry boxes with a burner inside and a flue.  


Garretson Smith & Henry Brown, Philadelphia, PA. Portable Cooking Range, Des. Pat. 649, 1854.

This design was assigned to Abbott & Lawrence, another of the city's large manufacturers. 


John F. Allan and Joseph Stewart, Philadelphia, PA. Portable Range, Des. Pat. 654, 1854.

Assigned to Cresson, Stuart & Peterson, another city foundry.


Julius Fink, Philadelphia, PA. Cooking Range and Air Heater, Pat. 13,7171855.

Another dual-purpose device -- basically a smallish range with one oven at the same level as the firebox and three boiler holes in the top plate.  Fink's improvements to the air-heating features were intended to ensure "that the dust or ashes shall not be allowed to ascend and settle in the flues or passages; and so that the gases shall be prevented from commingling with the heated air, which is to be used for heating rooms or apartments elsewhere" in the house.  These were problems for all designers and builders of air-warming furnaces.  

Fink made improvements to the range parts too, and in the process provided an interesting commentary on the drawbacks of ranges in use: "In cooking ranges as generally constructed the dampers are so numerous, and their offices so  varied, as to confuse the users, if not entirely confound them, as they are generally in the hands of those who do not properly understand them [servants].  The consequence is that, the ovens are too much, or too little heated -- the dust, upon raking or shaking the grates, flies out into the room, or is allowed to ascend into, and settle in the flues, and choke them up."  Fink had developed a single-damper system, reducing the cost and difficulty of construction, "and at the same time put its successful management within the scope of the most obtuse user."
  

John Plant and Charles J. Ball, Washington, DC. Cooking Range, Pat. 14,591, 1856.

Showing how far they were outside of the community of stove- and range-makers flourishing in the major cities of the north-east seaboard, from Philadelphia to Boston.  Plant and Ball's "cooking range" was really a development of the old stew stove, with six cooking holes in a row, probably designed for hotel and restaurant use.


William E. Hayes, Geneva, NY. Arrangement of Dampers for Cooking-Stoves, Pat. 14,720, 1856.



Not really a range, but an example of the sort of locally-manufactured "summer stove" that city designers and foundry operators were beginning to improve on, manufacture, and sell in large numbers.  In this upstate summer stove, the fire was outside of the stove itself, contained in a small separate furnace sitting in the fireplace.  Hayes spelled out what a summer stove was for: "baking, warming, and otherwise preparing articles of food, or for heating sad irons, and for other purposes so that a small amount of heat will be communicated to the air within the room".   


Jacob S. Williams, Saint Louis, MO. Oven of Cooking Range, Pat. 14,895, 1856.

Chiefly interesting, like Plant and Ball's Washington stew stove, for showing how far behind Philadelphia-New York-Boston range design a maker on the furthest fringes of the emerging Old Industrial Belt could be.  Williams's brick range with an iron hot plate and elevated ovens would not have looked out of place in the seaboard cities in the late 1820s or early 1830s. 


Garretson Smith, Henry Brown, & Joseph A. Read, Philadelphia, PA.Portable Range, Des. Pat. 758, 1856.

Assigned to A.E. Warfield, a local stove merchant.


James Horton & John Currie, Philadelphia, PA. Portable Range, Des. Pat. 797, 1856.



Assigned to Cox, Hagar, & Cox, a firm new to the city.  Nothing distinctive about it, but nice clear drawing, including of the end plates (not shown above).


Charles J. Shepard, Brooklyn, NY. Cooking Range, Pat. 17,4561857.




Charles Shepard and his brother Thomas had been active in the New York City stove trade since at least 1842, running "Nott's Stove Warehouse," i.e. the successor, at the same Water Street address, to the sales outlet for stoves designed by the Reverend Dr Eliphalet Nott and made at his sons' Union Furnace in Albany that had been in business since at least 1833.  (Nott's enterprises had gone bankrupt in the late 1830s, but his stoves were still made and sold, and he may even have still owned the businesses, behind the protection against his creditors provided by the front men who ran them -- see this blog post about him.)  

By 1850 the Shepards described their business in the city directory as a "stove and range (emphasis added), warehouse," after 1854 adding and then emphasizing their patent ships' stoves among their product line of "Cabooses, of all sizes. Ships' Cabin Stoves. Steerage Ranges, Ventilators, Cooking Utensils of all descriptions, at Wholesale and Retail." The Shepards were therefore specialist manufacturers, and upscale, quite caboose-like free-standing ranges for the city market probably fitted in with their principal business better than large-volume stoves would have.

Shepard's design innovations in what looked like a standard pattern New York City-style two-oven range, with eight boiler holes in a familiar configuration (four in a flexible layout  directly above the fire, two more at each end of the top plate, heated from the oven flues), were all on the inside.   They were intended to both enlarge the ovens and eliminate cool spots within them, thereby improving fuel economy and the evenness of oven heating, without requiring a larger firebox which would have cut into the space behind it that had to accommodate the hot water back now a desideratum in prosperous households.  The range was even designed to be servant-proof, like Fink's in Philadelphia, which is indicative of the target market Shepard was aiming at.  



Charles J. Shepard, Brooklyn, NY. Cooking Range, Des. Pat. 869, 1857.



Shepard took out this design patent at the same time as his improvement patent 17,456, as a two-fold protection for his intellectual property in this top-of-the-range (sic) product.  He obviously thought he was onto a winner, and expected to be copied.  

With this ornamented design Shepard was treating his large, quite costly range (the Superior Family Range, for superior families only) in much the same way as the makers of stove-like portable ranges: as something to be transformed, if possible, into an item of furniture rather than just a utilitarian object -- a sort of rather grand cast-iron sideboard for the kitchen.  Given that families wealthy enough to buy a range like this no longer lived in their kitchens, and certainly did not do their own cooking, the range was probably designed for "eye appeal" in the showroom rather than to be appreciated by its hot attendants, who would have a harder time cleaning and black-leading it than if it had been plainer.   


Samuel Pierce, Troy, NY. Cooking Range, Pat. 18,055, 1857.

Pierce's third range patent.  By this time he had established himself as one of America's most prolific and influential stove designers.  He brought stove-like features into this large, distinctive, free-standing two-oven range -- in particular, he moved the firebox from between the ovens to the left-hand end, so that the hot gases passed in a clear draft all the way under the top plate to the right-hand end of the stove, guaranteeing maximum availability of heat for range-top cooking, before passing into a simple but effective downdraft flue system, taking them down, under, and around the ovens before they passed off up the chimney.  As he put it, "the heat is more perfectly distributed and more actively put in circulation than heretofore."  

Pierce's was not the first double-oven range with the firebox moved from the center to the left -- something other makers had already done, but not, it seems, patented, to get away from one of the design faults of a central firebox, the difficulty of heating both ovens evenly.  That change had produced its own problem -- how to heat the space between the two ovens?  Pierce now claimed to have solved it, and was sufficiently impressed by his achievement to patent it.

Small summer or portable ranges already had their firebox to the left of the oven.  What Pierce had now done was to design a large, effective, stove-like double-oven range.  The standard "portable" (i.e. not brick-set) cooking range of the rest of the nineteenth and much of the twentieth century can, without too much of an effort of the imagination, be traced back to Pierce's rethinking of range layout in the mid-1850s, and not very much further.


James Ingram, New York City. Water-Back for Ranges, Pat. 19,368, 1858.  Reissued as Reissued Pat. 738, 1859.

Interesting -- includes a detailed drawing of the installation of a water-back in a large, New York-style 7-boiler hole range, a discussion of the difficulties these sometimes encountered in use, and a (rather complicated) proposed mechanical remedy.  Patents are often most useful when they contain an explanation like this of the practical problems an improvement is designed to address.  The fact that the patent was reissued suggests that it was valuable.





A. Hendrickx, Morrisania, NY. Combination Cooking Range & Gas-Generator, Pat. 20,064, 1858.

Another example of the enthusiasm of mid-century inventors for getting twice as much bang for their bucks.  Hendrickx's large two-firebox brick-set range generated coal gas for domestic purposes, most probably lighting, and must have appealed to those without a mains supply.  (J.E. Hudson of Providence, RI, had produced a "Portable gas generator, for hotels, houses, and mills" in 1855, useful for "all who are in isolated situations and desire gas lights," possibly inspired by a widely reported English invention of 1850.  The state's Society for the Encouragement of Domestic Industry commended it.)  Its advantages were that it would produce enough for household use with just one firing a week, and the apparatus could then revert to its regular kitchen use.  Hendrickx's plan was an improvement on other such generators, "the peculiar arrangement of the retort so as to open on the outside of the room instead of the inside thereof the inconvenience and injurious effect to the persons in the kitchen from the gas and fumes of sulfur etc. which issue in large volume from the mouth of the retort while withdrawing the coke and feeding fresh coal are avoided." 

Morrisania in the South Bronx was the site of the Mott Iron Works, but I cannot find Hendrickx in the city directory and cannot be sure that he was connected with it. 



William Resor, Cincinnati, OH. Combined Broiling-Furnace & Cooking-Range, Pat. 21,085, 1858.

Resor was Cincinnati's leading stove-maker and designer, in the business for more than twenty years by the time he patented this.  It was a charcoal broiler attachment for a coal-fired range, lit from the main fire but then isolated from it while in use, to protect the cooking food from coal fumes.   


Charles Kane, New York City. Combined Cooking Range & Heating Apparatus, Pat. 21,608, 1858.

Another large, double-effect device -- otherwise a standard, New York-style double-oven range.  Kane argued that "The economy ... is evident, saving to the consumer much heat before wasted, and enabling him to use the same to good purpose and also to dispense with an expensive furnace, and likewise saving much fuel."  Kane ran his hot-air pipes up alongside the main smoke flue; one can visualize how suitable this would have been within a terraced, multi-story brownstone house.  Kane was a stove dealer and tinsmith, with premises on the Bowery, i.e. this was an actual appliance that he made, sold, and installed, not a paper patent.


Joshua Harrison, New York City. Cooking Range, Pat. 22,120, 1858.



An enormous range, obviously designed for restaurant, hotel, or institutional kitchens rather than household use (the text of the patent makes this plain).  It had six ovens and two independent broilers -- like Resor's except that their heat supplemented that of the main fire in heating the ovens and boilers -- plus a large, robust water-back.  Harrison's emphasis was on efficient heat utilization as well as mere capacity, to reduce fuel consumption and also, perhaps, though he did not mention it, making large kitchens slightly less hellish places to work in.


Amos C. Barstow, Providence, RI. Range-front Des. Pat. 1,023, 1858.



Barstow was Ephraim R. Barstow's half-brother, and proprietor of the Barstow Stove Co.  His first stove design patent had been in 1849, and by 1857 he was a regular repeat patentee.  This was his first range patent -- another grand cast-iron sideboard like Charles Shepard's, for the kitchen of a large, prosperous household.  


Garretson Smith & Henry Brown, Philadelphia, PA. Range, Cook Des. Pat. 1,073, 1858.



Another portable range for Abbott & Lawrence, but larger than those designed in the early 1850s, with two ovens -- the "National," probably a nod to its owners' Unionist politics rather than a bid for a larger market.  The photograph submitted with the patent application is chiefly interesting for its inclusion of an African American workman, preventing it from falling off the narrow table on which it is balanced.  He provides a sense of scale.  The range would have sat on the usual legs, but as they were not novel in appearance they were not worth showing or capable of being patented.



Gardner Chilson, Boston, MA. Cooking Range,  Pat. 22,489, 1859.




Diagram of Hot Gas Flow around the Ovens

Gardner Chilson (b. 1804) was one of of New England's most experienced stove and furnace designers and builders, with more than thirty years in the business by the time he patented the above range, his first -- a developed form of the Stimson-style elevated oven range with five boiler holes, available to customers with or without a water-back to boil a cylinder of hot water for bathing and other domestic purposes, and "Hot-Air Fixtures" to meet the demand for ranges that could double as furnaces.  

Chilson's patents were unusually thorough in spelling out in narrative form how and why he came to produce the new devices he designed, the problems they were intended to address and (of course) their superiority over all predecessors in dealing with them.



Chilson was absolutely confident of his range's excellence.  "In my experience as an inventor and manufacturer of cooking and heating apparatus for the last thirty years, I have never before seen any mode of applying heat to an oven by which a temperature so uniform throughout the entire interior of the oven could be produced."  His flue design ensured "as little waste of fuel as possible and ... the quickest and most uniform baking I have ever known accomplished by any cooking apparatus."  The two ovens could be set and maintained at different temperatures, or both at the same (high) level, "insuring the articles which may be baked in either or both an equal brown upon their upper and lower surfaces."  When he advertised it, he boasted that "No housekeeper will be long without this Range after once seeing it.  It is wholly original to myself, and entirely different in principle from all other ranges.  It will save its cost in one year in fuel, over any other ranges." [Advertisement, Adams's 1860 Boston Directory advertising section, p.87.]
  

Gardner Chilson, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Des. Pat. 1,248, 1860.



Chilson valued his new range so much that he followed Charles Shepard's example -- protecting his intellectual property with both an improvement patent for the functional elements and this one, for the ornamental features.  What we gain from this is what must have been, in the original, a very fine photograph of a range in place.  Fortunately, we also have such a photograph -- a rarity, given that few antique ranges seem to have survived, even in historic houses, or to have impressed visiting photographers enough to record them.


Historic American Buildings Survey, S. E. Cobbs, Photographer, 1971.
CAST-IRON COOKING RANGE [in] FORMER KITCHEN.
George F. Patten House, 406 Front St., Bath, ME.  The range seems to have been removed since then.


Herbert H. Stimpson, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 23,509, 1859; Reissued Pat. 956, 1860.

After Chilson's, Stimson's "new" range pattern looks very antique, as indeed it was -- simply an improvement on his 1844 pattern, i.e. another huge built-in elevated-oven range with just three large boiler holes, rather than Chilson's factory-made unit, usefully modified to cope with problems experienced in service.  



B. Wells Dunklee, Boston, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 23,665, 1859.



Another handsome elevated-oven range, brick-set like Stimson's, but providing two ovens like Chilson's.


W.G. Ruggles, Worcester, MA. Cooking Range, Pat. 24,492, 1859.

An idiosyncratic design the like of which I have never seen in advertisements or catalogues, i.e. did it ever exist as a marketable product?


William Resor, Cincinnati, OH. Cooking Range, Pat. 24,577, 1859.

Despite its name, Resor's patent was actually for an improved damper.  However, the patent drawing shows it applied to a handsome, New York-style range, a cast-iron unit sitting on the floor and set against a wall, but not built-in, with a large oven either side of the firebox, and ten round boiler holes which could be configured as five big oval cooking places.


James Spear, Philadelphia, PA. Ironing-Pan for Ranges or Stoves, Pat. 24,667, 1859

A pan to heat five sad-irons on the hottest place on a range-top, the boiler hole straight above the firebox.


William Pettet, New York City. Cooking Range, Pat. 26,051, 1859.

A brick-set range with an offset elevated oven.  Pettet's innovation was to use the space either side of the firebox -- waste space in most layouts -- for mounting roasting spits.  Was this something the market demanded, or just something that struck its inventor as a bright idea?



Josiah M. Read, Boston, MA. Stove, Range, &c. , Pat. 26,054, 1859; Reissued Pat.  2,076, 1865.



This is the first range patent that looks exactly like later standard American domestic ranges.  Two years earlier, Samuel Pierce's Patent 18,055 had increased the size and capacity of the Summer or Portable Range, and given it two efficiently functioning ovens.  Read went a step further, and produced a free-standing range with six boiler holes and a single very large oven -- basically, just an up-to-date cooking stove, rotated through 90 degrees.  He may not have been the first stove maker to produce a range like this, but he was certainly the same to patent it.


Evens Backus, Stuyvesant, NY. Cooking Range, Pat. 26,241, 1859.

Backus had been in the Manhattan stove trade since at least 1842.  This was a large range with a central firebox, eight boiler holes, and three ovens, one elevated, one of them adaptable for broiling as well as baking, another equipped, like Pettet's, with what we would now call a rotisserie, i.e. a turnspit, "to perform the duties of a [tin] kitchen or fire roaster, without the inconvenience of placing and displacing said roaster, making it a part of said stove and always ready to perform its duties."  Backus's range also had a flue designed to draw off cooking smells into the chimney, something "highly essential." 



George Cooper, Concord, NH. Cooking Range, Pat. 26,257, 1859.



A tribute to the success of Gardner Chilson's design -- a patent that came as close to imitating it as possible, though it was something to be built in situ out of cast and fabricated modules rather than, as in Chilson's case, a factory-made product needing installation and assembly rather than construction.  Cooper distinguished his range from others in the usual way -- by virtue of the unique design of his flues.


B. Wells Dunklee, Boston, MA. Range, Pat. 27,436, 1860.

Like Cooper's patent, to which he referred, another attempt to invade Chilson's territory, with a different way of ensuring the even heating of twin elevated ovens.


William S. Mayo, New York City. Water-Back for Ranges, Pat. 28,096, 1860.

An invention to help users cope with the harsh winter climate and irregular water supply in which they had to work.  "[N]o water-back, of the kinds now in use, will stand without cracking when the water in [it] is suffered, from any cause, to freeze, and ... such accidents are frequently happening, especially in the city of New York, every winter, and ... occasion a great deal of trouble and expense." 


F.S. Merritt, New York City. Cooking Range, Pat. 28,099, 1860.

An improved version of his 1849 range -- two ovens either side of a central firebox in a large, floor-mounted unit with an auxiliary air-heating function.  The principal changes are the incorporation of a modern water-back.



Elon G. Niles, Cincinnati, OH. Cooking Range, Pat. 29,711, 1860.

A free-standing range (a "rotated stove") with water-heating coil and hot-water cylinder.  Niles's main claim was for a small, supplementary external firebox allowing the range to be used for cooking in summer with less fuel consumed and heat produced.


John G. Treadwell, Albany, NY. Range or Stove, Pat. 30,013, 1860.





A modification of what Treadwell, an experienced stovemaker, called "the ordinary or what is called the low double oven range," with a firebox in the center between the two ovens.  Treadwell's improvements were addressed to solving a design problem with these -- the difficulty of heating both ovens equally well, something that Josiah Read had solved by simply abandoning the second one and having a single, large oven like a cookstove.  Treadwell's range had a large hot-water reservoir on the top plate, occupying the space of two of the six cooking holes.  This suited rural households or those without a reliable pumped water supply, or an acquired taste for baths.


James Brown & Lyman Bridges, Chicago, IL.  Furnace & Cooking-Range, Pat. 30,203, 1860.

A large (4-boiler, two-oven) floor-mounted, brick-set range.  The drawings show the hot-water heating coils and cylinder very clearly.  Brown and Bridges' "combined apparatus" was designed to heat other parts of the house by piped hot water or by air warmed within the range itself.


Sexton, S.B. Baltimore, MD.  Cooking Stove & Range, Pat. 30,254, 1860.

A double-oven stove or range -- interestingly, Sexton no longer distinguished between the two, as one was much the same as the other, just rotated 90 degrees.  Sexton's innovation was an improved grate that would do for both.


John Martino & James Horton, Philadelphia, PA. Cooking Range, Des. Pat. 1,231, 1860.

Another portable range, assigned to Stuart & Peterson.  The quality of reproduction of the photographs of the plates is very poor, but  they don't look at all distinctive.


Amos C. Barstow, Providence, RI. Cooking Range, Des. Pat. 1,247, 1860.

Another elegant "iron sideboard."


A.K. Sanders, New York City, & Nicholas S. Vedder, Troy, NY. Cooking Range, Des. Pat. 1,295, 1860.

Adam Sander opened his "stove and range warehouse" in 1852; Nicholas Vedder was America's premier stove designer.  This patent was registered as their joint effort, but then assigned to Sander, giving him exclusive rights to it.  The photograph of the front plates is indistinct, but it looks as if this is just another New York-style two-oven kitchener -- an "iron sideboard," in my terms.

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What Next?


  1. I will step back from the detail and try to see and explain what was going on.  Essentially, it seems to me, the big story is the development of distinct range styles in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston; the gradual penetration of the range business by designers and makers firmly rooted in the stove trade; and finally, in the late 1850s, the emergence from the latter of what became the standard range type in late C19th and C20th America.
  2. I may incorporate more evidence (from standard secondary sources) about the interesting subtext to the growth in demand for ranges -- the way it went along with (and made possible) the increasing taste for abundant hot water for bathing and other household purposes in early nineteenth century America.  This turned out to be one of the range's killer features -- the ease with which it could be turned into a generator of hot water, on tap.
  3. I may carry the story on as far as is worthwhile.  From the 1860s onwards we have an increasing number of surviving stove and range manufacturers' catalogues, and from the mid-1870s a vigorous trade press, so it is less necessary to rely on the patent record as a principal source.  By the mid-1870s, too, ranges were mature products, and their market was rapidly spreading beyond the major cities.  But I have a pretty comprehensive list of range patents covering this period, many of them later works from designers figuring in this post, so I may as well share it, and I might get around to looking at its contents in detail (though not any time soon).
  4. Thanks to writing the Warnick & Liebrandt post, I am now in a position to add to the very few references to range prices that I have been able to include above, with a comprehensive set for 1861 enabling me to illustrate even better the way in which the development of progressively cheaper range types -- the built-in, set range; the floor-mounted, low-oven, "unitized" range, not truly portable, but markedly cheaper; and the genuinely portable, stove-like ranges appearing in the 1850s -- both broadened and deepened the market that, collectively, they could reach. 

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Postscript

The New York Metal Worker, a new trade journal for the stove and tinware businesses (manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers), started publishing during the depression of the early/mid-1870s.  The front page of every week's issue carried a large engraving of a new product, with descriptive and promotional text -- essentially an advertorial.  Most weeks showcased a new cooking stove -- still the most important appliances in most Americans' homes, and all manufacturers' product lines -- but there was also significant, and growing, attention to ranges, all of them mature forms of the ones Samuel Pierce and Josiah Read had pioneered fifteen years earlier.  On Saturday the 25th of March, 1876, they featured the "Contest" Portable Range from Southard, Robertson & Co. of New York.


How had the ordinary domestic range developed since the late 1850s?  It had grown -- underneath the firebox and main oven was an ash drawer and a "warming closet" -- a small, very useful secondary oven, of a kind we have seen above (Dearborn's 1849 Patent 6198).  This meant that the working surface was higher than in the old portable range, and thus less wearing on the user, who was now likely to be the homemaker rather than a servant cook.  The working surface, with six boiler holes even for the smallest household, had acquired a fold-down shelf, and could carry a large hot-water reservoir, or one could be hung under the shelf at the right-hand side.  The firebox had small mica windows, so that the stove cast a warming glow into the kitchen, and inside there was a lever-operated grate making the tasks of poking, de-clinkering, and de-ashing much simpler.  Altogether, the range had become more versatile and flexible, more convenient, and easier to use.  It had also turned into a mass-consumption consumer durable.  The entry-level "Contest" range -- before the purchaser began to pile on the optional extras -- only cost $3-75.  A quarter-century earlier, a Moses Pond set range impressed its buyer as a good bargain at $40 -- $20,000 in 2016 dollars; now a household could acquire an admittedly smaller range, with fewer features (e.g. no water back as standard), for 95 percent less ($1,050, relative to the average production worker's wages).  

What had changed was much more fundamental than just the design of the range.  What had really changed was the scale and efficiency of manufacture and distribution, unlocking the door to the mass market for stove makers, and to range cooking for ordinary households.  As a result, they had turned from goods with little more than a narrow big-city market into products available nationwide, and "in the opinion of many makers the cook [trade shorthand for stove] will soon go out of use."   This prophecy was incorrect, though merely exaggerated rather than wrong -- there was always some demand for traditional cooking stoves -- but the direction of travel was already clear.

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