Nope, cast iron was used becuase it was cheap. hundreds, maybe thousands of casting businesses.. I've owned dozens of cast iron parlor stoves.. from all over the place,, seems virtually every town had a blacksmith that could cast iron parts..
But cast does NOT make a good flat panel for a stove. Flat gives it problems of expansion.. the cannon heater you described is round,, so the expansion was more even, and controled. The flat panels will expand unevenly and crack,, I've passed up dozens of cracked stoves for sale.
How many steel box stoves are in the scrap pile behind the stove shops?? Not many,, How many cast iron stoves?? mountains of them..
Steel stoves do hold up just fine to the heat of fires. if overfired, a piece can be safely cut out and replaced,, you can't do that with cast iron.. just throw the stove away unless you want to pay more than the stove is worth to recast a panel.. and have the risk of yet another crack developing.
NOPE.. Mulit section boilers??? Cast is wonderful?? nope,, they corrode away from the inside or at the connections , and if you run one low on water, it cracks..
A steel boiler?? takes that abuse in stride..
Grates are the only good place for cast,, heavy, simple and as long as the ashpan is emptied and the ash doesn't touch and insulate the grate from the cooling incoming air, then they will last a long time with a hot fire right on top of them.. but that's the only real place to use cast.. anyplace else is a gamgle.
I know you don't like cast iron Greg, that's been pretty clear for a long time. But several things you've said above are just plain wrong. Blacksmiths worked in wrought iron and steel, not cast iron. Yes, there were a lot of small foundries.
There are many different cast irons with a wide range of properties.There are a whole series of cast irons that have been developed to be used in the fire box region of stoves. They out-perform steels so well that even you have had to admit above that they are much better to use for grates. All materials have their strengths and weaknesses. Steels are good for some things, cast irons are good for some things. Some areas overlap, some have clear preference of one over the other. Cast iron in all it's many alloys is an excellent material as are steels in all it's many alloys. The smart thing is to use the right material in the right place. Cast iron is a better material in the firebox region of a stove than steel is no matter how you cut and dry it..
Hi DJ, what I don't like about cast iron is the umbrella assumption that it it the 'where all and be-all' for stove construction. And as you
very accurately and thoroughly described, that is not true.
The use of cast iron definitely has it's place.. and in direct contact with a hot, 2000*+fire, cast iron is the desired material.
But to make a box to surround the fire, cast iron does not make good flat stock, and requires sealed corners, and bolted attachments.
Steel rolled in 1/4" or 5/16" sheets will withstand localized overheating without cracking, and will retain it's servicability.
You are 100% correct, I used the wrong term, I was searching for 'foundry' but came up with 'blacksmith'..
Many small foundries had blacksmits, and many blacksmiths had small foundries for casting small parts.
This thread is about someone's obvious appreciation for the cast in details of their cast iron stove, but I object to the assumption
that the 'Hitzer is ugly'..
Personally I find many of the ornate stoves to be downright UGLY.. they look like the aging 'Madame' of a brothel, all gussied up, double girdles,
too much makeup, and too many accessories hanging all over her, in a despriate attempt to look as attractive as she did in her youth.. proud but pitiful.
Like you said, I'm not a fan of cast iron.. I used to sell 'Grizzly' wood stoves.. welded steel boxes, with cast iron doors.. and 90% of my customer
complaints were about warped, ill fitting doors. The castings never seemed to fit right..
So from early on, I learned to not 'trust' cast iron, but from very early years, I learned to fabricate virtually anything out of steel. So I trust steel.
As was mentioned by Pierre, any car will get you from Montreal to Quebec, and some of us will take pride in what we drive, some only care to 'get there'.
But I also will add that a car ill equiped or designed for the trip may not make it to it's destination, no matter how 'pretty or fancy it is.