There's a lot of talk and hype on the net about the vintage round baseburner type stoves, and about how they recirculate the gases to extract a high amount of heat from the stove. I see all kinds of claims about the smoke travelling 12 feet inside the stove, and one post said the smoke travelled 27 feet total.
These are really great looking vintage stoves and I wouldn't mind having one, but I'd never pay a big premium for one, over a modern stove. Let me explain why.
A vintage baseburner is nothing more than a modern stove with a baffle smoke shelf installed in the top- only the baseburner has it installed in the bottom. There's no way the vintage stove recirculates the smoke for "17 feet". Think about it. The stove is 2 feet square at the base, and at best 4 feet tall. If the smoke travels up/down the back that's 8 feet total. And if it travels back/forth in the base that's another 4 feet. It's more like 12 feet total circulation inside the stove.
I'd like to suggest a logical alternative, one that has proven itself in my home for 20 years, and without doubt will work as well, or better, than any vintage baseburner.
A modern stove, with a 16 foot chimney, dura-vent double wall, installed inside the home.
The long run of pipe acts as a huge radiator and heats all the airspace in the home, in this case it's installed in a room w/vaulted ceiling, but could be run through multiple floors with proper safety boxes where it goes through ceiling and roof.
If the baseburner's claim to fame is circulating the exhaust gases through "17 feet" inside the stove (it's not that far by any count), then this type of installation has that in spades. You can also buy a modern stove with a baffle inside, put the long chimney on it, and not have to restore an old stove, or pay $8000 for a rare vintage antique stove to try to achieve this. Plugging the stove into an outside masonry chimney, is heating up the outside stonework, instead of the interior of the house. If one really wants to extract maximum effiency from a coal stove or wood stove, the chimney should be inside the house- and the stove should be in the living quarters, not in the basement or cellar. Why heat a room one floor down and 3 rooms away, from where you spend most of your time ? Heating from the basement requires using 2x the coal.
A modern stove also has a fan in it, something the old stoves don't have. If we're talking "efficiency" a stove without a fan, can't compete with a stove with a fan, period. To date this stove has heated my home on the coldest of winters never using more than 2.5 tons of coal, and the average is 2 tons per year. One mild winter we heated the house with only 1 ton of coal, our year heating bill was $210.
At any time I can rest my hand on the chimney pipe, from the back of the stove, all the way up- there is very little heat loss up this chimney, it is all radiated into the room, by the internal heat exchanger baffle, fan, and long run of pipe. The stove was $1250 about 10 years ago, installed new. The chimney was $1350 installed about 5 years ago. Before this particular setup, I ran an older stove, with a larger firebox, without a fan, and single wall pipe, in the same location, with the same results- this was an upgrade. Something like this is a turnkey operation and no need for a fpd or baro damper. The manual for the stove says specifically, not to use any damper. Rest assured this does not need it. With the door open this drafts like a freight train or blast furnace. When it's set to steady slow burn, it runs at 1/2 turn for most of the winter. On the coldest days, it only requires 3/4 turn open on the draft- barely any air intake to heat the entire house.