Friday, January 23, 2015

Portable Cooking Stoves

Today when we think portable cooking stove, we picture camp stoves or propane grills. So, when an author is researching and comes across the term "portable cooking stoves" our 19th century characters do not have the same picture in their minds. I found this brief article on kitchen ranges and portable cooking stoves in "The Sanitary Record" 1876. I believe this will help clarify the term for writers of history and historical fiction.

As we consider that some mention of these classes of goods cannot but be interesting to the readers of the Sanitary Record, we append the result of a visit to several establishments where such articles are sold.
The close ranges manufactured by Messrs. Brown and Green, of Luton and Bishopsgate Street, London, have often been lauded for the peculiar advantages which they possess over the'many common ranges. Instead of the usual door to one of these patterns the upper portion of the fire is enclosed with a cast-iron plate, so constructed as to fall down and form a trivet, upon which boiling can be performed when the fire is low. Should this trivet be used for roasting purposes its position excludes the usual current of cold air from passing over the fire, the effect of which is only to waste the fuel inside the bars. When this cast-iron plate becomes redhot it serves the purpose of roasting quite as well, in fact, as the open fire below. A series of small perforations in the upper part of the plate admit air-jets and so tend to assist in the consumption of the smoke. The grate space in which the fuel is burnt, though wide enough for roasting a good-sized joint, is, nevertheless, proportionately narrow from back to front, and by this arrangement the utmost value of the coal or; other fuel is realised. The sliding plate over the fire which forms the close range is also more handy than the lifting style of cover, which necessitates the use of a lever. As for ventilation two conical pipes, scientifically placed, assist the action of the door. The double oven range, five feet long, is fitted up with porcelain panels, and is a marvel of clean casting, whilst the polished wrought-iron mountings of the oven doors, etc., are equally commendable. Perhaps the most unique pattern of the series is that in which the fire is entirely enclosed with plates, which are allowed to get red-hot when roasting is going on, the draught being under command by a ventilator in the door of the ashpit— which latter is also enclosed. By this construction slow combustion is fairly attained, and coke can be used, the whole being free from dust and smoke. Where ranges are in request for burning all night without attention this last-described pattern is a most valuable desideratum.
The kitchen ranges proper made by this firm are equally commendable—and possess the great advantage of allowing meat to be roasted in front of the fire whilst the ovens are being used. They are also fitted up with boilers for bath and lavatory use, and the water before being withdrawn can be made to course in pipes so as to heat halls or conservatories. Some of the largest-sized ranges are fitted with several ovens and steamers, and these are admirably adapted for use in hotels, hospitals, and in public or large private establishments of every kind. They are simple of management, and avoid the annoyance of that close heat which prevails in most of our kitchens. The new patent' close ranges with an open chimney' are well adapted for use in kitchens badly ventilated, and where an absolutely close range would be found unbearable.
There is a class of cooking-stove which is inexpressibly valuable, not only in the house, but in temporary buildings, on board yachts, and the like— we mean a portable cooking-stove. The ' gem ' pattern of this firm is most worthy of commendation, having all the good points of the lightly-made foreign stove and all the solid advantages of the best English ones. They are fitted up immediately, and consume the very minimum amount of either coal or wood. We have often wondered that the working-classes, pestered as they often are with the apologies for cottage-ranges which arc found in the houses rented by them, do not remove, if only temporarily, these miserable scarecrows of iron, and replace them with effective and cheap articles, such as the portable cooking-stove now under review. It could be moved with their other effects when they leave the house, and would be even a valuable heirloom. We have just learnt that they are largely exported for foreign use, and are not surprised, as they will stand the roughest usage.
There are many other equally useful articles, large and small, to be seen in the establishment of Messrs. Brown and Green, but which we cannot particularise. We will, therefore, forbear to explain a range of theirs, fourteen feet in length, with four evens and three boilers, which is able to plain-cook for over 2,000 persons at a cost of less than an ounce of fuel per head, as this would take up considerable space. Neither can we describe their valuable ventilating-stoves, now so well known amongst us, and which are made of all sizes. In taking leave of this firm—who were the pioneers of close-ranges—we will only add that they were the recipients of the medals in 1862, 1865, and 1867; and that anything in the way of warming, cooking, and ventilating media can be seen, and seen well at their establishment It is a pleasure to be able to recommend it, for it is in itself an exhibition of all that is sound and enduring in cooking-machinery.
There is another genus of cooking-apparatus which, whilst not boasting the permanent character of those just mentioned, owing to their comparative slightness of structure, are nevertheless valuable beyond compare in small families.
We have just seen a stove of this description (the invention of Mrs. Amelia Lewis), at 420, Strand, London, which combines in itself economic heating with superior cooking. It is even handsome in its appearance, and fit for the sitting-room, but it is in - the saving of fuel where its chief forte may be said to lie.
Like other portable cooking-stoves it can be inserted into any flue, but, unlike some others, it has not too much iron surface, and in consequence of this it does not give off a superabundance of that close smell which is so often felt when near the common cooking-stoves. It can be lit rapidly and burns freely, but the draught is nevertheless held in good check, and its economy is perfect. It is almost impossible to overrate this stove as an adjunct to a kitchen-range in the scullery or still-room, but we quite agree with a critique which we have seen passed upon it to the effect that here is exactly the stove for use in the schools of cookery, which it is to be hoped will now speedily abound in the land, and for the delectation and convenience of those young ladies who wish to reproduce at home the viands which they have learned to prepare at those institutions. For the rest, the ' People's Stove' is equipped with all the accessories, and requires only cleaning out twice a week with a brush. The stew-pans are used in the ordinary way, and when not in use the pans can be
systematically packed away and occupy but littlespace. If an oven is required it is only necessary to place a baking-cover over the iron saucer, and that is fairly achieved. A one-opening stove will cook meals for two persons—a very good investment for a solitary bachelor or spinster; a two-opening stove • j with its utensils will cook for a small community; I and the three and four-opening ones will provide for 'the largest families. The larger sizes are roasters, j steamers, stewers, and bakers, one and divisible. The draughts of these stoves are regulated by dampers in the ordinary manner.
We cordially recommend our readers to visit for themselves the show-rooms of the National Food and Fuel Reform Association, and see these goods^ in full operation.
Another marvel in cooking-ranges is the 'Treasure ' range, sold by Mr. Constantine, of Fleet Street, and we spent a considerable time in examining the system upon which they are constructed; and after such examination we were bound to confess that theword 'treasure' was not unfairly assumed by theinventor of this economical stove. It is a homeproduced article, which will bear the utmost inspection, well made, well fitted up, and, unlike many others, endurable.
The 'design' is also recommendable; they leave no fuel unconsumed ; but what is most astonishing; is the small amount of fuel which they require. Wedo not know a better cooking-range of this particular kind, where a low first-cost is wanted, and at the same time an efficient labour-saving and spaceeconomising article. Many of our readers may recollect having seen it in a room in the south galleries of the International Exhibition of 1873; but even if they did so, and are on the look-out for a cooking contrivance of its special kind which will guarantee really an immense saving in coals, they will do wisely in sending for Mr. Constantine's illustrated catalogue.
We have also just paid a visit to the establishment of Messrs. Murdoch and Co. Lawrence Pountney Hill, Cannon Street, City, and have been much struck with the 'Livingstone' Range, which they manufacture in Scotland and sell very largely in England and all parts of the globe.
Like some of their other ranges it can be placed either in a fireplace or in front of a fireplace. It has the uncommon advantage moreover of being available away from a fireplace altogether, all that is wanted being a funnel for the withdrawal of the smoke. The range possesses a hot plate available for all purposes, a ventilated oven for baking or roasting, but besides this, the front of the fire can be used for the cooking of joints. This is a great desideratum, for game is spoilt by being baked in the oven. The fire can, however, be covered up when not required to be exposed, and in this manner the maximum of saving in fuel secured.
The hot-water supply is also admirable, the water cistern being made of copper tinned inside and standing above as well as below the level of the hot plate. This enables the ' Livingstone' range to hold a larger supply of hot water than any other stove kitchener or range that we remember to have noticed. And the upper part of the hot-water cistern can be used as a bain-marie, which is a wonderful adjunct in cooking. The cistern can easily be made to supply itself automatically. The heating of thfr water is done on a novel and economical system, and the cistern itself can be easily taken out and cleaned^
It is, however, in the small consumption of coal where the worth of these ranges lie. Only a little coal need be provided and the full value of such coal is extracted. Either wood or peat will also suit these stoves. As for the ashes, they fall into a secured pan. The range needs no particular setting, and in conclusion we can only repeat that we have been greatly taken with the 'Livingstone' kitchener.

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