Someday my Prince Will Buy Me a Cinderella Stove

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Photo from- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.

History of the Gas Kitchen Stove

Though gas cooking had found a place in England by the 1860s, and range manufacturers were beginning to ship their product overseas, in America gas was considered too expensive a fuel to be burned for cooking (not to mention the source of an after-taste in some minds).

After 1900, though, gas companies were seeing electric power companies nibble away at their bread-and-butter business —lighting—so they turned to the kitchen as the source of a new market. Since gas ranges had no need for the heavy, cast iron box of a wood- or coal-burning range, they could be built in much lighter and more compact forms. Plus gas ranges gave off much less excess heat and had no need for a chimney, making them ideal for the new, smaller kitchens of houses like bungalows. What’s more, they were light enough to stand on tall, slender legs to become, along with sinks, one of several pieces of freestanding furniture in the early modern kitchen.

By the 1910s the design of a gas cookstove had arrived at the iconic look of the cabinet range—a burner top at left or right of a baking oven with a broiler below. Ranges were usually constructed of sheet metal and cast iron with a baked enamel finish. Gas fed the burners through an exposed manifold running across the front that was controlled by wheel handle valves or utilitarian cocks. By the Roaring Twenties, the cabinet range hit its stride as a five-burner, two-oven appliance. A popular sales hook was porcelain enameling of all surfaces in black, white, or grey, but the big breakthrough was the invention of reliable heat regulators for controlled oven temperatures.–

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Ad- November 12, 1931–Ottawa Journal

historicalnotes

Michael Doyle--I remember my grandmother’s range in the 1940’w, which was wood burning with a water tank on the right side to heat hot water for dish washing. I believe it was a Findlays but I’m not sure. She lived in Almonte, very near the Rosamond mill, where all my aunts (the Voyce girls) worked.
My father worked at Findlay’s in Carleton Place in the middle to late 1930’s, when he took a job at Canadian Vickers in Montreal for the war effort.

 

Related reading:

Findlay’s 101 and a Personal Confession

Funky Soul Stew was Once Cooking in Carleton Place

 

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historicalnotes

Old-Factory-1

Elmira’s connection to antique appliances dates back three generations. Founder Tom Hendrick’s father supplied woodburning cookstove parts to local Mennonites from his hardware store in Elmira, Ontario. In 1975, Tom saw an opportunity to supply not just parts, but complete cookstoves, to the local market and, potentially, all of North America. He acquired the rights for the Findlay Oval cookstove, and began manufacturing in what had been a chicken barn on the outskirts of the small town of Elmira. The popularity of the stoves grew, and consumers soon began to ask for similar styling in gas and electric models. Hendrick responded, and the product line expanded to include a full line of gas and electric ranges with traditional styling and some of the modern features the company offers today. Fireplace shops, appliance stores and emporiums across the continent became an enthusiastic dealer network for Elmira’s growing line of products.

 

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

5 responses »

  1. I remember my grandmother’s range in the 1940’w, which was wood burning with a water tank on the right side to heat hot water for dish washing. I believe it was a Findlays but I’m not sure. She lived in Almonte, very near the Rosamond mill, where all my aunts (the Voyce girls) worked.

    My father worked at Findlay’s in Carleton Place in the middle to late 1930’s, when he took a job at Canadian Vickers in Montreal for the war effort.

    Like

  2. My grandmother (Agnes Napier-Morrow) and a couple of her daughters had Findlay wood burning ranges in their kitchens when I was growing up; My granduncle William Donahue (also my sister-in-law’s paternal grandfather) spent a large part of his working career there along with her maternal grandfather Traverse Coates and maternal step-grandfather William Burns. My uncle Peter Morrow had a Findlay electric range ib his kitchen for many years as well; the electric ranges were slightly unusual as they had a row of buttons for each element instead of a rotary knob.

    Like

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