Thursday, June 27, 2013

Value Of Antique Wood Stoves

An antique wood stove

Wood stoves, which can trace their development back to the beginning of civilization, are still used today for heating. When collectors look for antique stoves, they are looking for cast iron versions. These made their first appearance around 1728 and were strong, permanent stoves that could both conduct and radiate heat at high temperatures.

Containing Fire

In ancient times, outdoor fires were community events. At home, a fire burned on clay packed into a dirt floor and was covered at night by metal to keep embers burning. By the 12th century, fireplaces were found in English castles and European inns, but ventilation was poor and smoke was a problem. Chimneys alleviated some of the smoke, and by the mid-18th century, large indoor fireplaces were common. Cast-iron stoves introduced that same century soon became popular.


In 1930, the United States Customs Office studied the subject of antiques so tariffs could be properly assessed on furniture and other antiquities brought into the country. The government's Tariff Act concluded that an antique was defined as an object that predated mass production and was at least 100 years old. In 1993, a modification to the original Tariff Act addressed antique restoration. The new definition maintains the 100-year-old age test and adds that no more than 50 percent of an object must be restored, repaired or rebuilt.

Stove Manufacturing

There are at least 24 different names and many different styles of antique wood stoves. By the late 19th century, production of cast-iron wood-burning stoves reached its peak. Developments in natural and manufactured gas, coal and kerosene would eventually replace wood as the main means for heating and cooking. Production took place mainly in eastern urban areas, with more than 200 manufacturers listed as doing business in a report compiled by John Perry and Giles Filley in 1874.

Valued Antiques

Antique wood stoves are not just valued for their collectivity, but for their practicality. Although they vary widely in styling, all antique wooden stoves are similar in that they use a renewable fuel source, provide heating without the need for electricity and can be used for cooking if the power goes out. Depending on the model, they can be used free-standing or within a fireplace. Antique stoves can be found in use in historical settings, adding to the ambiance of the site.

Buying an Antique Wood Stove

When buying an antique stove, work with a reputable dealer. Examine the stove, making sure that all the parts are there. Check for signs of wear and refurbishing. Research the manufacturer, the style of stove and the model before purchasing. One 19th century Vermont stove company produced 2,772 stoves in the same year that a New York company reported producing 743,615 stoves. The rarer the stove, the more in demand it will be to a collector.


Many online antique dealers sell wood stoves. Prices in the vicinity of $4,000 are not unusual, depending on the individual stove. Some sites sell stoves that have been converted to gas or electricity, while other sites offer to convert old stoves. Appraisals for those who have stoves can be done online by submitting photographs, while other dealers prefer to see the antique in question.

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