questions about using an old parlor stove

questions about using an old parlor stove

PostBy: barbaragraver On: Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:29 am

Hi. My name is Barbara and this is my first post here.

We are looking at an old parlor stove and would appreciate any information from those who are familiar with them. The stove is 54 inches high, 24 inches wide and has a 15 inch fire pot. The seller tells us that it is a coal stove and that it takes a standard stove pipe. He says the stove is operational but has not used it. It appears to be in good condition with a very small crack in the decorative skirting but otherwise intact.

We're curious about the safety of using such an old stove and if anyone knows of any resources on restoring and installing older stoves? Also how effective they are in terms of heating? It's my understanding they were designed to primarily heat the parlor but was wondering if it will warm up the other rooms downstairs as well? I believe that this stove needs to be shoveled out as there is a chamber underneath the fire pot but no tray but maybe this something that can be added?

Would love to hear any info that anyone could share on this as well suggestions as to what questions we should ask or things to look for.

Thank you!
Barbara
barbaragraver
 

Re: questions about using an old parlor stove

PostBy: wsherrick On: Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:53 am

Many people here have Turn Of The Century stoves as their primary source of heat. A stove with a 15 inch fire pot would provide a large amount of heat. If you live in a typical modern home that stove would be able to heat your whole house for most of the Winter.
We can't tell you any more about it until you tell us more about it. What brand is it? Etc.
If you can post pictures, It would be great.

As far as safety and efficiency- Most of the old stoves are better and more efficient than the new ones. How much so depends on the type of stove and the quality of the make. A top quality stove from the late 1800's early 1900's is far more efficient and easy to use than the new ones.

But the main issue is safety of course. Any stove that has not been used for decades needs to be rebuilt and resealed to perform its best and be safe to operate.
wsherrick
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: None
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: None
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: None
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: None
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Glenwood Base Heater, Crawford Base Heater
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: None
Baseburners & Antiques: Crawford Base Heater, Glenwood, Stanley Argand
Coal Size/Type: Chestnut, Stove Size

Re: questions about using an old parlor stove

PostBy: freetown fred On: Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:53 pm

sorry ws, I love the older stoves but as far as simplicity & efficiency, I'll stick with my Hitzer 50-93, yet I would not say it is betterer or worseser then the old parlor one's. Just saying ;)
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

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Re: questions about using an old parlor stove

PostBy: Rob R. On: Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:42 pm

wsherrick wrote:A top quality stove from the late 1800's early 1900's is far more efficient and easy to use than the new ones.


I have never operated a baseburner, but I can see how they would be very efficient. Same principle as a boiler, if you maximize the length that the flue gasses must travel and the amount of surface area they must pass by...you lower the stack temperature and increase the thermal efficiency.

Regarding "far more easy to use" than a new stove...I'm having trouble with that one. It seems like something with a single shaker handle and a dial-control for output is about as simple as it gets. I admire the features of a baseburner, but I wouldn't want to try and explain its operation over the phone to someone (just an example). Bypass damper, pipe damper, check damper, over-fire air, under-fire, multiple grates...it all makes for a very tune-able machine, but I think it would take longer for a new coal burner to master all the adjustments.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Rice/buck
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: questions about using an old parlor stove

PostBy: franco b On: Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:27 pm

Rob R. wrote:but I think it would take longer for a new coal burner to master all the adjustments.

I would agree. The simplest easy to use stoves are those with thermostat and hopper. Stoves in that category that have received praise in this forum are those by Hitzer and DS Machine Efficient heat exchange is by use of a blower when needed.

The better antique stoves have that antique appeal and also some striking styling as well as being practical heaters, especially the base burner and base heater types. Those in the forum who are enthusiastic users usually have this type. If you are willing and have the patience to take a little longer to learn the stove and fuss with it a bit more, then a good antique might be for you.

Submit pictures of the stove and grate so those familiar can get a better idea if this is a good stove for you.
franco b
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea

Re: questions about using an old parlor stove

PostBy: barbaragraver On: Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:14 pm

Thanks for the information so far. There is now a second stove that we are looking at so I will post pics and some info on each.

Bear with me because I know almost nothing about older coal stove but the first is an old base heater that has not been used for years and would probably need to be rebuilt. We like it because it is a Pittston Stove Company stove (Happy Thought No. 77) and is a really beautiful stove but have no idea how much it costs to restore a stove or who does that kind of work. This is the stove that I gave the dimensions on (picture one).

The second is a Sterling 403 Porcelain Coal stove. It has been in recent use, had the mica replaced and seems well maintained. It is older stove also but I don't believe as old as the Pittston stove which seems to me turn of the century or older. It is a nice stove also (picture two and three). If anyone has an idea how old this stove might be, I'd be curious. I am guessing 1920s? It is 43 inches high, 29 inches wide and 21 inches deep. I'm not sure if it would need servicing or not.

We are very open to recommendations and advice!
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barbaragraver
 

Re: questions about using an old parlor stove

PostBy: freetown fred On: Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:30 pm

That 2nd stove is in great shape from what I can see-- The old stove burner crowd might come out to the farm & beat me unmercifully for saying this, but it resembles the warm morning type stoves me thinks. Can you post some pix of the innards? You'll get plenty of feed back Barb :) By the way, welcome to the FORUM
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: questions about using an old parlor stove

PostBy: wsherrick On: Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:35 pm

The Happy Thought stove is the better stove. You say it is a Base Heater. Are you sure? This stove dates from around 1910 give or take a few years. The enamel stove is from the 20's as you surmised.
The best stoves were made during the last decade of the 19th Century and the first two Decades of the 20th.
The happy thought will have a greater heat producing capacity and is a much more desirable stove.
There are several companies that restore stoves.

My recommendations are: The Antique Stove Hospital in Rhode Island and Barnstable Stove Shop which is located on Cape Cod. Both places have web pages you can take a look at.

As to your question about servicing. Any stove that is going to be operated needs to be rebuilt. That goes for the new ones you buy used as well as the old ones.
wsherrick
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: None
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: None
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: None
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: None
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Glenwood Base Heater, Crawford Base Heater
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: None
Baseburners & Antiques: Crawford Base Heater, Glenwood, Stanley Argand
Coal Size/Type: Chestnut, Stove Size

Re: questions about using an old parlor stove

PostBy: freetown fred On: Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:50 pm

I wouldn't call the Sterling stove all that much newer & with the rebuild, I'm sure the Sterling would be about gaskets , standard fire bricks, things more accessable & definitly cost effective, compared to the Happy Thought stove which probably needs firepot, possibly taken apart & re-cemented, all the cosmetic work to do it properly--you'd be talking a good chunk of change. Plus, I question the heat producing capicity compared to even the Sterling??? I never had the 2 running here to be able to honestly say yay or nay to that.
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: questions about using an old parlor stove

PostBy: barbaragraver On: Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:58 pm

No I am not sure that it is a base heater at all. I am probably using the wrong term! I will check out the restoration websites mentioned. I appreciate the info on the type of work it might need. That was my thought - that I love the stove but it might need a lot of work.

Here are a couple more pictures of the insides of the stoves. The first two are of the Pittston Stove (one of the inside and another just to show the workmanship). The second and third are of the Sterling Stove (inside of stove). I'm not sure what a warm morning stove is but would be curious to hear.

Thank you for the welcome! I have a feeling that if we get either one of these stoves I will be asking a lot of questions.
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barbaragraver
 

Re: questions about using an old parlor stove

PostBy: michaelanthony On: Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:10 pm

This is all about personal taste and sometimes money. If money is no option go for the gold and get the baseburner and have it rebuilt, (probably count this season out for heating with it). If you want my opinion, I like the sterling, classic lines even looks like some stoves that are made today, Vermont casting, and that something Martin company. Anyway when I got sick of giving the dam a@#holes my money for oil I went shopping and this ugly, square, paint peeling hunk of steel caught my eye and I wanted it to keep me warm. So I have a 30 something yr. old stove that ( bought it last year ) in my basement 78*, and upstairs in my little 1100 sq. ft. is 72* and my stove still needs a paint job. I inspected the stove and put new firebricks and gaskets and I'm thinking about hot water coil for next yr. This about you and your family's taste and the work involved, my stove taught me how to tend it and I love it. The baseburner is beautiful as well. You haven't told us about your set up or style of home and all the other variables, age, insulation etc. If it's about looks, they can be deceiving, my stove is proof. If its taste can't help you.
michaelanthony
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant 2310, gold marc box, vogelzang pot belly
Coal Size/Type: Pea, and a little nut
Other Heating: Very cold FHA oil furnace

Re: questions about using an old parlor stove

PostBy: franco b On: Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:12 pm

The term base heater means that the stove has an extra pipe at the back that by means of a damper the flue gas can be routed down below the ash pit and then up and out. This extracts heat and lowers stack temperature. Without seeing the back of the stove it is hard to determine if it has this feature. I doubt that it does.

The second stove is a cabinet style and in general they go for little money since they are late and not very pretty, and the only advantage they have is that they can be closer to combustibles than stoves without the double skin. I don't think anyone here would recommend.

Google antique stoves and look at the pictures in the stove restorers web sites to get an idea of what is available.

There are some excellent threads in this section of the forum on restoring old stoves so you can get an idea of what is involved and how they are constructed.

You budget and how much you can spend is also important. Over the course of a year some good buys have appeared on craigslist but most have either been way overpriced or are in bad condition.
franco b
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea

Re: questions about using an old parlor stove

PostBy: wsherrick On: Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:53 pm

A refresher course in stove types might be in order here.
Your Happy Thought is what is called an "Oak," type stove. These are defined as a cylinder stove such as you have here and it is a direct draft stove. That means the air for combustion comes in a the bottom of the stove and exits out the top. The Oak stove was a basic design which was intended to be able to use more than one type of fuel. There is an endless variety of Oak Stoves as they were made by thousands of Foundries and were produced in the millions over roughly a 50 year period. 99% of all stoves of any type are direct draft stoves regardless of the era they were made in. All box stoves made today are direct draft stoves and they are based on the basic 19th Century Cottage Heater design. A design which was solely made for wood consumption, not coal. The only exception is the Vermont Castings, Vigilant which has indirect draft paths which mimic a base heater.

The Sterling Stove was made in the 20's and these fall in the category of "Circulator," type heaters. These are designed to draw cold air up from the floor, heat it; then send hot air out of the top of the stove. In some applications, circulators work well. These were made all the way up into the 1980's. The last being a, "Warm Morning," brand stove made by the Locke Stove Company. I
If you look at the grates on the Sterling you will notice they are flat. These stoves were made to burn Soft Coal mainly. The grate design reflects that. You can burn Anthracite in them just fine but they aren't as highly engineered as the earlier stoves which were specifically made for the fuel used. They can be good stoves but are not as efficient as the upright cylinder design.

The next type is a base heater or base burner. They were made specifically for Anthracite Coal only as their fuel. The only exceptions to that are stoves such as a Glenwood Base Heater which is an advancement of the Oak Stove design. See picture below.
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The back side of a Glenwood Base Heater. This shows the base heating tubes clearly.
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wsherrick
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: None
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: None
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: None
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: None
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Glenwood Base Heater, Crawford Base Heater
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: None
Baseburners & Antiques: Crawford Base Heater, Glenwood, Stanley Argand
Coal Size/Type: Chestnut, Stove Size

Re: questions about using an old parlor stove

PostBy: wsherrick On: Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:58 pm

The last two types of base heaters are the cylinder types with an internal fire pot and the "mica," base burners. These are highly engineered to burn Anthracite Coal and are extremely efficient, economical stoves to use.
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Picture of a Cylinder Base Heater with Internal Fire pot. This is a Glenwood No 9 Base Heater.
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High end Mica Base Burner. The correct term for these stoves is: "Radiant Heater," due to the sides of the stove being mostly windows which allow large amounts of radiant heat out.
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wsherrick
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: None
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: None
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: None
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: None
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Glenwood Base Heater, Crawford Base Heater
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: None
Baseburners & Antiques: Crawford Base Heater, Glenwood, Stanley Argand
Coal Size/Type: Chestnut, Stove Size

Re: questions about using an old parlor stove

PostBy: echos67 On: Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:40 pm

Welcome Barbara,

If your in search of a "Parlor Stove" then by all means listen to Uncle William, he will not steer you wrong. He may post a picture of a tired old Glenwood :D but that stove as pictured heated my entire house last year from an unfinished basement and it cost me 2/3rds less to do it with that stove than the year before by using 2 pellet stoves not to mention the oil I used the year before that. That alone makes the roi only a year or 2 at most and in my case helped justify the costs of getting what I wanted. I also bought my stove used and was able to restore it myself helping to keep costs down this way as well, plus it was a *censored* load of fun ! At a minimum reseal all the seams, make sure the stove is safe to operate and install some co detectors, then enjoy the heat and savings.

You can find a lot of pictures and info here on restoring stoves to help determine if this is a route you could go to help cut your initial costs, I did this to help the wife and i get a base heater and not get buyers remorse :D , I am extremely happy with my stove and would not sell it now :no2:

If you decide on another style there are a lot of great stoves out there like mentioned, the Hitzer, DS Machines, Harman ect. and people here are more than happy to help get you where you want to be by helping out. Great group of people so don't be afraid to ask questions.

Good luck
echos67
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Glenwood No. 6.

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