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From the Stove to the Electric Range

Kitchen Stove Manufacturing in Canada: A Time-Honoured Tradition

In the nineteenth century, the design of kitchen stoves used to cook food evolved through changes to stoves used for heating. It is likely that old, lavishly decorated cast-iron fireboxes, like those produced by the Forges du Saint-Maurice in the eighteenth century, inspired the creation of new models with additional parts — ovens and cooking surfaces — in which the two functions of either cooking or warming food were clearly separate.

Ironmasters of the time, including Joseph Van Norman of Normandale Iron Works in Long Point, Ontario, James Rogers Armstrong of the Toronto City Foundry, and Henri Bernier of the fonderie Bernier in Lotbinière, obtained patents for the manufacture of cooking stoves. Stoves from the Montreal Foundry and City Works, A. Bélanger Limitée in Montmagny, the Gurney Foundry Company Limited in Hamilton, and the McClary Manufacturing Company in London, were highly praised in advertisements.

Wood stove,
Guelph Stove Company,
circa 1909
(CSTM 2001.0242)

The traditional design of a wood stove (2001.0242)* produced by the Guelph Stove Company around 1909 made it possible to separate the cooking and warming of food. This stove includes compartments to burn fuel and gather ash, and an oven that supplies the heat to the cooking plates. Once cooked, food could be placed in the food warmer in the upper section.

* The numbers in parentheses are the accession numbers of artifacts held by the Museum.