Century-old antique parlor stoves still serve a purpose
Glenn Litke, atop what he estimates is a two-year supply of firewood.
This Floral Oak stove, made in Kansas City roughly 100 years ago, shows the gleam of stove black. "If you paint your stove, it doesn't show the relief," said Glenn Litke. "It dulls the engraving, and the way the detail reflects light."
This Radiant Home base burner was made by the Germer Stove Co., Erie, Pa. Unlike parlor stoves, the base burner was designed to burn a special type of coal. This stove would have been used in an affluent, elite household, Glenn said. Restoration will include replacing 72 pieces of mice that make up "windows" in the stove's eight doors.
The Radiant Home stove was missing just one piece, a corner broken off an existing piece. Glenn carved a mold for a new casting to replace the missing material.
The detail shown above depicts a small boy in an art motif, complete with a painter's palette. The stove itself is an example of artistry: "Every bit of that was hand carved in wood before that stove existed," Glenn said. The stove also features three rare tiles with painted profiles (top left). "There's people who collect just those tiles," Glenn said.
This kitchen stove is a departure from the parlor stoves Glenn typically takes on.
This stove heats the farm shop. Glenn burns Osage Orange (hedge) in his stoves. Hedge generates a lot of sparks, but there's little real danger, he said, so long as practical precautions are followed.
Three of Glenn's restored stoves, complete with the bright shine of nickel plating. A hundred years ago, any one of these stoves might have been the sole source of heat in a small house without insulation or storm windows.