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.–
Ad- November 12, 1931–Ottawa Journal
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.
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.