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Author: Stefan

Date: 27 June 2012

Temperature: -26C

Wind Speed: 5 knots

Temp with wind chill: -30C

Sunrise: N/A

Sunset: N/A



As a profession, conservators often have a soft spot for certain objects. Many choose the bejeweled glitzy golden things, but I’ve always been fascinated with the craft movement, and anything that combines a beauty of aesthetic and function.


I’m currently conserving a ‘range’ of stove parts from Cape Royds that don’t really typify the style, but definitely the concept of the Craft Movement. During this period, high design and crispness of detail in cast iron was common and expertly executed. It’s depressing these days that little love of artistic expression goes into the design of such utilitarian objects. It’s pretty hard to imagine buying a washing machine that would be jaw droppingly gorgeous, whilst also performing a spin cycle…… if only.

Stove 1.jpg

A few stove parts, awaiting lacquering


It’s pretty sad, but as a conservator you often research incomplete objects in the vain hope that you’re going to find an example of an original, and you often leave the computer/library depressed and empty handed. By extraordinary chance, and little skill, we’ve managed to find an image of an original stove of the exact patent.


Please feast your eyes on the stunning “Model Parlor #2” manufactured by Pratt and Weeks. Made in Boston between 1840-1860, this gothic looking heat emitter, came with a heat control vent to the rear, and a foot rest……these guys really knew what people wanted out of life.

Stove 2.jpg

The original patented stove, in mint condition


In conserving our stove, the smell of golden syrup was thick in the air when removing corrosion. All visible staining has been left intact, but that faint whiff evoked warm memories of Britain and the good life. I imagine a tin or two were being warmed nearby and burst open. A doubtless scalding goof at the time, but well done boys, you made my day.


I implore you, throw out the TV and get a stove with all the trimmings.

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