Woodburning stoves have been around for almost 150 years, and you can still find many beautiful stoves today that are often in working order-some even dating as far back as the 1870s, when the modern version of the wood stove first appeared.
There are many reasons to own antique wood stoves-they are beautiful, nostalgic, collector’s items, and if in good repair, they can still be practical and useful. If you are considering choosing antique wood stoves for your home, you’ll need to know the various types, and decide which style is right for you.
If you want a decorative, beautiful stove, the best choice is a parlor stove. These compact, decorative stoves were used in a more formal setting, in the parlor where guests were entertained. They were usually ornate, trimmed in shiny nickel, and often had a domed lid, topped with a beautiful finial handle. The lid could be removed so that the flat top of the stove that was hidden underneath could be utilized for cooking-or more likely, for heating water for tea.
In a smaller room, a Franklin stove-or potbelly stove-can be a great choice. It is a squat, barrel-shaped, narrow stove that can fit into small corners. This stove design was first created by Benjamin Franklin. Some styles of fancy parlor stoves are very similar to the Franklin stove, in that they are shaped like a skinny barrel.
A box stove is a small, compact stove of a very basic design. It tends to be one of the least expensive of the wood stoves. It is the kind of thing you might see, even nowadays, being used in a very small, off-grid cabin. The stove is deeper than it is wide, and is low to the ground, on short legs.
A wood cookstove is the “grand dame” of all wood stoves. These large beasts took up center stage in a nineteenth century kitchen. They are wide, large stoves, consisting of several compartments. On the upper left you’d have the door for the firebox, and below that, the door to empty out the ashes. On the right side of the stove was the large oven door.
The stovetop was where you’d put soups to cook, teapots to boil, etc. On fancier stoves, you might have a slot in the left side for making toast, or a water reservoir attached to the right side for hot water. Butter warmers, and warming shelves or warming ovens were other premium features.
There are many other types of stoves, such as marine stoves, laundry stoves, circulators, kitchen stoves, and more. But the stoves listed here are the most well-known types, and will give you a basic idea of what kind of stoves you can choose from.
If you make the right choice in a woodstove, it may even have some collector value to it, and be useful and practical during a winter power outage, as well. No matter what style you choose, antique wood stoves can be an excellent choice to add interest and beauty to your home.