"Tales of pioneer hardship and deprivation have been told many times. Yet still we remember in wonder, that people accomplished so much with so little; that men and women with simple tools, their bare hands, and their own inventiveness cleared the land, drained the swamps, made their own clothing and provided their own food. Through all these difficulties God was with them and they wanted their children educated intellectually and spritually." from Norfolk Street United Church history

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Heart of the Kitchen

Kitchen ranges popular in the last half of the nineteenth century did double duty - heating space and cooking food.

By the turn of the century, Eaton's 1901 catalogue was illustrating the "finest ranges on the market, so proportioned that the designs and ornamentations are shown off to the best possible advantage...."

"The Royal Alexandra, a twentieth century name and a twentieth century range."

"This is positively the finest range on the market. It has the drop hearth-plate, draw-out duplex grate, draw-out oven rack, accurately proportioned firebox, full size square oven, extra large water reservoir...We positively guarantee this range to be perfect in every part."

In reading further in the catalogue it can be assertained that the prices for this essential part of every rural kitchen was from $30.00 to $49.25...and to finish you off and make the reader drool for this product they state...

"The Alexadra stoves are the finest made and for bakers are head and shoulders over all competitors...."

Findlay's Oval is a cook stove with all the gleaming arrogance of a pre-war Cadillac and the same kind of reputation. Production of the original model stopped in 1958 and began again twenty years later in the Ontario Mennonite community of Elmira.

Today, the Elmira Stove Works, of Waterloo, Ontario has brought back those days by incorporating the best of the old-fashioned looks and quality with today's state-of-the-art features to create the ultimate in antique/country styled ranges.

Company founder, Tom Hendrick, who has been in the Antique Style Range business for over 20 years, developed the Cook's Delight style of cookstove, to meet the demand for a modern appliance with the aesthetics of a woodburning range. It was modelled after an Early American range called the "Classic Clarion" first produced around 1850.

Another longstanding, traditional cookstove is the Enterprise which was built by Dominion Foundry Company of Sackville, Nova Scotia, founded in 1852 by Mr. R.M. Dixon.

At one time Enterprise was the only company in the world manufacturing a complete line of cooking products using wood, coal, oil, gas, electricity and microwave energy all in one factory.

In the 1980's the company changed to Enterprise-Fawcett Limited where, the skills of generations of craftsmen came together in the production of the" world's finest cook stove". The original molds made from wooden patterns carved by hand inspired the successful Legacy Series. The Monarch, King, Savoy Oil and Savoy Wood cook stoves combine authentic styling with todays standards.

Now isn't this familar? The T. Eaton Company had claimed back in 1901 the almost the same glowing words for the "Royal Alexandra."

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