Through the Fire: Origins and History of the Woodburning Cookstove

From its roots as an 18th-century innovation to a kitchen essential and creative catalyst, the woodburning cookstove boasts multinational origins, world-renowned developers, and revolutionary efficiency. And as the cookstove enters something of a renaissance, Elmira Stove Works leads the way with enhanced styling and performance of this appliance icon.

Focusing the flames

The wood burner comes from humble beginnings in the Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine region of northeastern France. The first woodburning cookstove patent was established in 1557 in the city of Strasbourg.

In the earliest stages, these stoves were considered luxury items, due to the expense of materials. It would take the arrival of the Industrial Revolution — some two centuries later — to make iron affordable enough for the wood cookstove to spread in availability and popularity.

The design was simple and sensible: a closed, solid cast iron or steel fire chamber atop a ceramic base with an adjustable mechanism for air control. This mechanism, the damper, allowed the user to adjust the amount of air feeding the fire, thereby controlling the heat output and fuel consumption. Fueling the fire was wood fuel — such as firewood, charcoal, chips, sheets, and sawdust — or, later, wood-derived biomass material — such as wood pellets (lending it the pseudonym ‘pellet stove’).

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A restored 18th century farmhouse in the Dordogne region of France (Photo courtesy of Style-Files)

Advancements in America

In the 1740s, the woodburning cookstove received a series of enhancements at the hands of politician and inventor Benjamin Franklin. His design added a hollow baffle to the rear of the stove that subsequently increased heat intensity and slowed smoke circulation.

Despite the fact that he refused to officially patent it, Franklin’s version has retained many of its original features throughout the years — including the ‘Franklin stove’ designation.

As the general understanding of the chimney concept improved in the late 18th century, the addition of the slanted fireback and adjustable flue damper allowed the wood burner to be operated in smaller spaces. When Philo Stewart patented the Oberlin stove in 1834, sales boomed across the United States and Europe.

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An 1807 museum house with woodburning cookstove (Photo courtesy of Historic New England)

Beyond the growing pains

The development and eventual legacy of the woodburning cookstove was not without its challenges. Ironically, the surging popularity of the appliance revealed its inadequacies.

As the public looked to stoves as a main heating source during the oil crises of the 1970s, air pollution became more of a concern; as did potential fire hazards and the amount of wood required to operate the stoves. Another round of innovation and redesign eventually created a new generation of much more efficient models that featured lower levels of pollution and longer burn times.

From the past, we see the future

With a connection to vintage appliances dating back four decades, Elmira Stove Works stands as a thought leader and tireless champion of style, performance, and innovation in the industry. We began in 1975 in Elmira, Ontario with the Findlay Oval cookstove, eventually expanding into a full line of gas and electric ranges while developing relationships with retail businesses across the continent.

Since that time, Elmira has come to symbolize the finest in vintage-styled appliances to meet every home environment. Elmira has built a world-class portfolio of product offerings that boast leading-edge technologies in that signature 1800’s or 1950’s vintage-inspired styling.

And as Elmira looks ahead, the brand will continue its mission of enhancing product style and performance, while maintaining authenticity and craftsmanship.

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Antique-styled woodburning cookstoves from Elmira Stove Works

Share the Love This Valentine’s Day With Elmira Stove Works Appliances!

Pink, red and hearts…oh my! Although it is true that we should show our love to others year round, this is the time for particularly acknowledging the significant people in our lives. For that extra special person, perhaps a spouse or parent, a treat that will last far beyond the season would be one of our vintage or retro kitchen appliances!

We have compiled a couple samples just to provide a vision for you. Let us know what you think.

This white, country kitchen features the Antique collection in Cayenne Red with Nickel trim, oozing bold romance! The Antique collection highlights the ornate vintage details of a 1850s kitchen, while maintaining 21st century functionality. Each appliance can be personalized to suit the buyer’s design and cooking styles. The two “true-to-era” decorative exterior doors open to reveal a full-size, modern interior oven. Available in gas, propane, or electric with four or six burner options as well as seven color choices, two different trims, and decorative accessories, there are thousands of possible combinations possible to meet your heart’s desire.

The Northstar collection is a fan favorite due to its sleek 1950s retro curves and chrome accents, as seen in this sweet, cheerful pink kitchenette. With eight standard available colors and over 200+ custom color options through RAL color technology, the ability to charm that special someone this Valentine’s Day, while also matching their personality is well within reach.

New to the collection is the Model 1947 36-inch six-burner range, which brings the retro-inspired design to a professional-grade range. It has a five cubic foot, self-cleaning, true convection oven, programmable bake and clean, six easy-clean sealed gas burners (8,000 to 15,000 BTU), continuous grates, and an oversized storage drawer.

To learn more about Elmira Stove Works, its vintage- and retro-inspired products and to find a dealer, visit www.elmirastoveworks.com or call 800.295.8498.

Give Thanks for Cooking With Pleasure

In Canada, we celebrated Thanksgiving the second Monday of October, a tradition that began in 1957. For those of you living in the United States, Thanksgiving is still to come. And, what better way to enjoy Turkey Day than to bake your bird in one of our Antique Cook’s Delight ranges.

Loaded with state-of-the-art features to make your culinary experience more enjoyable, the Antique range includes a full-size, self-cleaning oven andControlPanOpen a choice of cooktops. 45” models also come with a “stay hot” food warmer, to keep your side dishes hot while you’re finishing off the rest of your meal.

Preparing a turkey for the first time can be a daunting task. You definitely don’t want your turkey to take on an unwelcoming “blackened” taste. To make the job easier, cook your turkey to perfection with the Cook’s Delight range’s “Feather Touch” electric control panel. Conveniently located at eye-level in the upper cabinet, the touch screen allows temperatures to be easily controlled. The indicator lights on the panel and cooking surface let you know which function is being used. The cooktop lights and exhaust fan are also controlled from this location.

Unless you are an expert chef like Rachel Ray, stick to the basics when it comes to cooking your turkey. The cook time depends on the how big your bird is. The rule of thumb for poultry is 20 minutes per pound at 350 degrees, plus an addition 10-20 minutes of roasting time. Be sure to let your turkey rest for 10-15 minutes before carving, this will help keep the meat moist, and scrumptious. It’s also suggested to stuff your turkey with stuffing prior to baking for extra flavor.1855STBlkBisNickel

When it comes to your side dishes, the traditional Thanksgiving dinner typically includes green bean casserole accented with crispy onions; sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows; mashed potatoes and gravy; and fresh cranberry sauce. With this many dishes, you will need to plan accordingly.

Luckily, Elmira Stove Works’ Antique ranges come with a 30-inch or 45-inch cooktop. The 30-inch cooktop comprises four burners; the 45-inch cooktop houses six burners. This gives you plenty of room to prepare your side dishes all at the same time. Sealed gas burners, “Ultra Temp” cast elements or smooth-top electric burners, and even combinations are available, giving you plenty of options to choose from.

Our Antique ranges are accessible in a multitude of colors to complement your kitchen’s design scheme: Black, White, Bisque, Cayenne Pepper Red, Liberty Blue, Jewel Green, Black / White combination, or Black / Bisque combination. Additionally, other decorative metal trim accents are available; including a Victorian trivet, decorative shelf, door frames, leg and front skirt trim – all in Nickel, Antique Copper or Antique Brass.

With all the available options offered with our Antique ranges, preparing your Thanksgiving meal won’t cause stress or headaches; instead it has the potential to renew your passion for cooking.

“Talking Turkey: Non-Traditional Ideas for Your Traditional Range”

Rather than go with the traditional cooking directions for turkey, consider these ideas from a post on amazingribs.com:

  1. DON’T set your bird down inside the roasting pan, which results in the top of the bird being overcooked by the time the bottom is cooked. Instead, set a rack across the top of the pan and set the bird on the rack. This will create even degree heat all around the bird. Put a cup of water into the bottom of the pan to keep the bird even moister.
  2. DON’T cook your bird to 180 degrees. Instead, remove the bird at 160 degrees – it will rise to 165 degrees while you’re carving it. (The USDA changed their guidelines for turkey from 180 degrees to 165 degrees back in 2006. Most recipes are out of date.) At 165 degrees, you’ll have a safe bird that is much moister.AntWarmerOpen
  3. DON’T stuff the turkey. By the time the stuffing is safely heated to 165 degrees, the white meat will be overcooked. Instead, leave the cavity empty, allowing the bird to roast evenly from the inside and out. Bake your stuffing in muffin pans for a tasty, crispy treat. Rub the cavity with the same seasoning you’re using on the outside, and place a cheesecloth packet loaded with aromatics (parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme – sing along if you wish!) in the cavity.
  4. DON’T set the oven at 350 degrees. Instead, go with 325 degrees. This will allow for much more even heating and, with the cavity empty, your bird will cook quite quickly, so you’ll actually be reducing your overall cooking time.
  5. DON’T rely on the clock. Instead, rely on a good thermometer. Yes, we know you want to know roughly how long it will take – for an unstuffed bird, allow about 2 to 2-1/2 hours for a 12-14 pound bird. Add a half hour for every additional four pounds.
  6. DON’T tent your turkey with foil or let it stand. Doing so allows the skin to soften and lose that wonderful crispness you worked so hard to get. Instead, carve the bird as soon as you take it out of the oven.
  7. DON’T carve the breasts while they’re on the bird. Instead, use your knife to scoop the breasts off of the bird. Then carve them across the grain so that everyone gets a piece of breast meat with a nice crispy bit of skin attached to it.

To learn more about Elmira Stove Works’ collection of Antique ranges, visit our website at www.elmirastoveworks.com.

Woodstoves: A Resource of Renewable Energy

For those looking to decrease their carbon footprint, they could start in the kitchen with their stove. Elmira Stove Works offers a solution: the Fireview is a high-efficiency wood-burning cookstove that can be used as a cooking appliance, a high-output room heater and, with an optional water jacket, a source of hot water.

According to John Ackerly, president of the Alliance for Green Heat, in his article on  PopularMechanics.com, “woodstoves should play a major part in America’s renewable energy future.” Clean-burning woodstoves can be a resource of renewable energy for your home that could reduce your carbon output by up to ten tons. Woodstoves are a major and largely unrecognized source of heat that produces three times more residential heat than other renewable technologies such as solar PV, solar thermal, geothermal, and wind technologies.

Data from The Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration reports, homes in the mid-Atlantic can eliminate five tons of their carbon output simply by replacing less efficient oil-fired heating systems with a clean-burning woodstoves and furnaces. In the colder New England region, the reduction of carbon output of a home could double.

With a growing market of environmentally-conscious consumers, the Fireview could be a perfect addition to their kitchens. What’s even better? Along with the Fireview’s beautiful antique styling, it also provides up to 60,000 BTU’s of heat, enough to heat a 1,400 to 2,100 square foot space.

For more on Elmira’s Fireview, visit http://www.elmirastoveworks.com/fireview.aspx

Bring The Warmth & Tradition of the Past to Today’s Kitchens!

Whether homeowners are renovating their kitchens or designing their dream homes, there are more options than the typical stainless steel appliances. Antique-styled appliances from Elmira Stove Works bring the warmth and charm of the past to kitchens of today, while also making a fashion statement.

Antique and century home enthusiasts no longer have to compromise styling with modern appliances, refurbish old appliances or hide modern ones behind facades. Elmira appliances feature the latest in cooking technology to ease routine food preparation and meet the high standards of the home chef.  Elmira’s antique line includes a customizable collection of ranges, wall ovens, microwaves, refrigerators and matching panels for dishwashers.

Six colors and an almost endless combination of trims and options provide the capability for the customer to create a one-of-a-kind look that suits their décor and individuality. When you are ready to redesign your kitchen and give it a vintage feel, look at The Antique Collection. For more information, visit www.elmirastoveworks.com/antique

Fall in Love With a Wood-Burning Cookstove

As the landscape around us starts to turn red, yellow and orange, trees start to lose their leaves, nights begin to get longer, temperatures begin to drop, baseball season comes to an end and the start of the football season begins, we know it is surely fall!

There are many reasons to love Autumn, but our favorite reasons revolve around the wonderful, seasonal recipes that taste so good! Lots of fruits and vegetables come into season this time of year, such as apples, beets, broccoli, celery, cranberries, eggplant, figs, grapes, green beans, pears and sweet potatoes, just to name a few. What could be better than cooking up your favorite appetizers, comfort dinners, and yummy deserts? Cooking it all on a wood-burning cookstove, of course!

The Fireview is a high-efficiency, air-tight wood-burning cookstove that is perfect for your home. It serves as a high-output room heater, a cooking appliance and an attractive fire-viewing woodstove. With an optional water jacket, it is also a source of hot water, using renewable resources. If you want even more cooking versatility, you can add the optional side gas burners.

Wood-burning cookstoves offer families the best of both worlds: excellent cooking and an antique, right-at-home feel. They keep utility costs down and they are a reliable source for cooking, even when the power goes out. With summer coming to an end, now is the perfect time to fall in love with a wood-burning cookstove!

Tell us, have you tried cooking on a wood-burning cookstove?

New Year, New You, New Kitchen

January is the perfect month for a fresh start. You have perhaps made some sort of New Year’s resolution; maybe one that involves changing your eating habits. If you need a little extra motivation to begin cooking healthier meals, a new kitchen might do the trick.

Making a resolution to eat healthier is pretty common, but what about doing something special, exciting and different in 2012? A kitchen makeover can do exactly that. Of course, anyone would be excited about remodeling his or her kitchen, but what is so different about it? Well, you can add refreshing, statement-making retro or antique Elmira appliances to your kitchen instead of the same old basic white, black and stainless steel appliances that everyone else has. Talk about conversation pieces!

Elmira has many different style and color options, so you won’t have any trouble finding appliances that coordinate with your cabinets and countertops.

For those of you that own a lake house or are considering purchasing one in the future, nothing would make your lakeside cabin feel cozier than an Elmira antique wood-burning style stove. These stoves are modeled after appliances made in the 1890’s and are available in wood-burning, gas or electric. They also have the option of four burners or six burners. Other features include a “feather touch” electric control panel, self-cleaning ovens, convection cooking, warmer, sealed gas burners, smooth-top electric burners and “Ultra Temp” cast elements.

Guys, if you are not quite sold on the idea of such unique appliances taking residence in your kitchen, what about a Northstar refrigerator that has a built-in “through-the-door” beer keg dispenser? All you have to do is add your favorite keg of beer; perfect for your upcoming Super Bowl party.

All of this probably seems like a great idea, but there is always the challenge of financing a full kitchen remodel. However, just one or two new appliances can give your kitchen an entirely new and fresh feel. The first time you entertain with your new appliances, you will know that you have achieved your New Year’s goal of doing something special and different.

Elmira “Antique” Appliances Bring the Warmth and Tradition of the Past to the Kitchens of Today

Elmira, Canada The warmth and charm to enhance any country, century or Victorian kitchen is the hallmark of the Elmira Stove Works’ antique-style appliances. With careful attention to vintage design, Elmira appliances complete the traditional feel of a “vintage” kitchen, rather than detract from it, as would modern-style black, white or stainless steel appliances.  Elmira appliances feature the latest in cooking technology to ease routine food preparation and meet the high standards of the home chef.

“While most of our customers are attracted to our appliances because of their appearance, we never compromise quality or technology related to how they perform,” says Brian Hendrick, Elmira’s Vice-President.  “Our appliances take the styling of the past and combine it with the technology of today. Antique and century home enthusiasts no longer have to refurbish old appliances or hide modern ones behind façades. The overall kitchen design theme can include the range, ovens, microwave, refrigerator, and even the dishwasher.”

Elmira’s “antique” line includes a customizable collection of ranges, wall ovens, microwaves, refrigerators and matching panels for dishwashers.  Six colors and an endless combination of trims and features provide the capability for the customer to create a one-of-a-kind look that suits their décor and individuality.  “The most popular colors are black or white, with bisque, cayenne, blue and green gaining in popularity,” Hendrick comments. “Also popular are the variety of trims to personalize the final product.  Customers can take the classic, simple approach to style or they can add nickel, brass or copper trim and antique accents. Each piece we create is a unique statement of that customer’s personality.”

Elmira customers are encouraged to build their own “virtual range” on the company’s website to determine what look they want prior to ordering. The viewer can choose the size of stove, color, trim options, fuel source (gas, electric, and combination) and cooking surface they want to view. The site then displays their completed virtual range on the screen for further customization or modification. “Our customers are particular and they know what they want in terms of styling,” Hendrick adds.  “No dealer or catalog can show all of the possibilities we can offer them, so we created an easy-to-use, interactive tool that enables each individual to design the ideal appliance for their home.”

The Elmira line of appliances is sold through dealers across North America. Each custom appliance is delivered fully assembled in approximately six weeks. Elmira Stove Works is a privately owned company based in Elmira, Ontario, Canada. For more information or the name of a dealer in your area, visit www.ElmiraStoveWorks.com or call Elmira Stove Works toll-free at 800-295-8498.

Elmira Heats Up with an Advanced Line of Fireview Wood-Burning Cookstoves

Elmira Stove Works offers distinctive, superior quality appliances with its innovative line of Fireview cookstoves. The Fireview is the only wood-burning cookstove to offer a full complement of features, including its trademark Fireview viewing door, high-efficiency burn with secondary air and glass-wash, antique or country styling and optional propane side burners.

“We at Elmira have great confidence in the future of renewable energy, and we think this is an excellent time for us to continue to promote our Fireview cookstoves to a growing market of consumers,” says Brian Hendrick, vice president of Elmira Stove Works.  “We tend to think of modern appliances as having all of the great multi-tasking features, but it is difficult to beat a traditional wood-burning cookstove for a unique design aesthetic and versatility!”

Elmira offers the Fireview in three models, including  a 36 inch wood-burning Model 1840, 48 inch Model 1842-0 with a second warmer on the right and a work surface above, and 48 inch Model 1842-G with second warmer and two 11,000 BTU propane burners on the right side.

With the environment in mind, the one appliance can serve as a high-output room heater, a cooking appliance, a recreational fire-viewing stove and a source of hot water. The Fireview has an optional hot water “jacket” that will produce up to twelve gallons of hot water per hour.

The Fireview door, originally included for aesthetic reasons, also allows the owner to easily monitor the fire without opening the door or losing heat. A large 1.5 cubic foot firebox, combined with the efficiency of the stove, provides up to 60,000 BTU’s of heat, enough to heat a 1,400 to 2,100 square foot space. Additionally, the Fireview’s three cubic feet oven is one of the largest on the market.

For more information on Elmira’s Fireview cookstoves or Antique appliance line, visit www.elmirastoveworks.com.