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Six-Hole Staple Favorite Steel Range

Display: Fire and Heat
Culinary Technique: cooking

Date: c. 1895-1915

Manufacturer: Favorite Stove and Range Company

Location: Piqua, Ohio

Dimensions: 60" h x 50" w x 31" d

A great improvement over the cast-iron cookstoves that had been in use for the previous fifty years, steel ranges such as this model distributed more heat quickly than cast iron and allowed cooks to do more. Cooks had to be skilled in the management of fuel, fire, heat, and water. Stove maintenance was a regular chore—sweeping out ashes daily and polishing surfaces weekly to prevent rust. Soot, smoke, and heat filled the house.

The Favorite Company instructed purchasers to specify "hard coal, soft coal or wood" when ordering from its catalog. Hard coal burned hotter and steadier than wood, with less smoke, and was a more economical fuel. Cooks added corn cobs to raise the heat quickly for baking and broiling. With no thermometers, experienced cooks sensed temperatures by putting their hands into the oven for as long as tolerable or by watching how fast paper or sugar burned. The water reservoir on the stove's right held and heated about twelve quarts of water; it shared a wall with the oven and could be filled with cool water to drop the oven's temperature.