When I was a young kid, I always remember going to grandpa's house knowing that I had better dress lightly- he had a COAL STOVE!
Out on his back porch was HIS area. Old hot rod books, magazines maybe even some engine parts he was working on whilst it was cold outside.
One of the things I remember most about his coal stove (he's still alive today and just stopped using it about 3 years ago) was all the homemade tools hanging around it; pokers, shovels, etc. "Now stay away from this thing, it'll burn you!", he's always say. He made a point to tell me EVERY single time I came to visit and he didn't just mention it once, he hammered it home......always had to tell the story of my dad, as a young boy, putting his hands on the stove whilst it was running "full tilt."
But, THE thing I remember most, was sitting on his couch (3-4ft from the black behemoth) listening to stories about the depression, WWII and flathead Fords. THAT was the best kind of heat. It warmed your bones to their cores. So much so, that that durn thing would put you sleep. No kiddin'. Grandpa says, "Anyone that sits next to it, will just fade away. I just keep talking [he talks a LOT] and they just nod off. I watch their heads sink. I know they are gone when I ask them crazy questions and they don't reply or just move their head with agreement."
Yes, that's what I remember about grandpa's coal stove.
Fast forward to 2004. I built a 34X30 garage with a full loft upstairs. I'm a pack-rat by nature- I guess it comes from grandpa's influence and his experience from the depression- and I wanted to start building traditionally styled hot rods.
After getting my garage built, I soon realized that winter that kerosene heater wouldn't handle the building. A torpedo heater was too noisy and expensive to use. I don't have much land with a supply of wood; no where to store it, have to split it, etc., etc. Then, while having my usual late-night conversation with my grandpa, it hit me! "What about a coal stove," I thought?
I had never REALLY paid attention to grandpa's stove. What I knew about coal stoves was summed up in the first few paragraphs of this post. I showed grandpa some interest in the subject and off we were on a discussion about coal stoves, how to use them, how to run them, etc.
He expressed his distastes of many types of stoves. However, the one he like was his Buckeye- made right here in our home town some years back. The Buckeye Stove Foundry was the name of the place. The place is still there but they do other castings.
Now the big question, where in the world can I find a coal stove. Especially one like grandpa's? Well, just like the search for hot rod parts, off I went. Calling people- ole' guys in the hollars, putting out "feelers," chasing leads. By some strange change, one day, I was helping my neighbor's brother unload some stuff in his garage. As I sat my first load down and turned to get another, there sat a coal stove in the corner of the garage. It looked just like grandpa's. Just like it, except it seemed smaller. I thought my eyes were deceiving me because the stove was out of context. I asked about if it was for sale and he said, Yes, I'll take $75 for it." Of course I thought it was worth about $25. One leg had been broken off and repairs with bolts; and it just looked doggy. Anyway, I made a note of the # in my head. It was a Buckeye 137.
I called grandpa that night and the thing I remember him telling me about the $75 is, "It won't ever wear out and where else are you going to find one?" So, with great reservation, I bought it, brought it home and hooked it up for the winter of 05. I picked up some coal (which is quite a story within it's self) BTW, lump coal here is around $70 a ton- you pick it up.
Last winter, I truly learned how much I appreciate my little coal stove. It turns out that my Buckeye 137 is much smaller than my grandpa's Buckeye 135 (strange # system) but it has one BIG heart. This little coal stove made it possible for me to work on my hot rod all winter last year.
Attached you'll find a pic of my little 137 and my hot rod. As of last weekend, I upgraded the crappy through the wall pipe and blessed my little stove with all new Metalbestos pipe through my roof. I haven't yet fired it with this pipe, but it kind of feels like the first time I lit a match to the ole' boy. I often sit and think about when the last time someone lit a fire in it, and all the stories the have surrounded the little 137. Who bought it new, did they have a hard time affording it, where did it spend most of it's life, did it keep the little kids warm when they were asleep?
I know I've typed a lot, and I apologize. Nevertheless, as you can see, coal stoves have a deeper meaning than just heat to me.
Lastly, sorry she looks rough but the ole' boy just got used last winter.......this year he'll get a fresh coat of paint!
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Last edited by Flathead Youngin'
on Wed Nov 29, 2006 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.