Antique wood stoves were frequently used in the kitchen by some and as decorative furniture for others. While they come in various styles, it’s somewhat surprising how many old-fashioned wood stoves are still in good operating condition today.
Antique wood stoves are frequently used for food preparation and home heating. These stoves haven’t evolved much in the previous century, so having this type of stove in your kitchen doesn’t give off an ancient look. Also, people using them don’t have to give up any modern conveniences.
In hotels, antique stoves are used as old wood fireplaces, giving off a beautiful look. Remarkably, some antique wood stoves have found their way into museums and historic mansions. There are various reasons behind the collection and valuation of antique wood stoves, and this guide looks at how to identify and value them today.
Brief History of Antique Wood Stove
During the age of enlightenment, open flames were used as a heat source and were the primary method of cooking before the development of the wood stove. It wasn’t until 1728 that the cast iron stoves surfaced, and open fires were phased out.
The Germans invented the ’Five-plate’ or ’Jamb Stoves’ for cooking. The Five-plate Stove came into light in 1740, while the 10-plate stove surfaced much later in 1760. It became commercially available in New York in 1760 as a portable heating stove.
The forging of this stove was done in the 18th century at a furnace owned by the Maybury family in Berks County, Pennsylvania. It had an oven used to cook small amounts of bread, meat, or pies.
In the 19th century, only a few houses were still using fireplaces. The six-plate wood stoves were much lighter and delicately crafted.
In the pre-World War II era in America, wood stoves had improved significantly in the 20th century. There were much larger wood stoves, with bigger surfaces and more functions available.
Some stoves even had ceramic surfaces to give them a more stylish and luxurious appeal. These wood stoves were built with handles and drawer closures, incorporating eye-catching designs to give a modern feel.
Why Do People Seek Rare Antique Wood Stoves?
Here are some of the reasons people collect rare antique wood stoves today:
For Historic Hotels
Many historic hotels and tourism destinations have benefited from these relics, and surprisingly, these wood stoves are still functional. These hotels use antique wood stoves as one of the best ways to provide warmth. These stoves have been around for more than two centuries, and some of them are even better than today’s high-tech stoves.
For Indoor Use
Since they were designed for indoor use, most antique wood stoves are still in perfect working order. They’re not costly to run and, most of all, easy to maintain.
Antique wood stoves have excellent value. Notably, some people acquire them for their worth, hoping they’ll make a fortune someday. Clearly, they aren’t wrong, considering that these stoves are currently expensive and quite rare. People are willing to shell out to acquire them.
Types of Antique Wood Stove
There are different types of antique wood stoves, and you need to familiarize yourself with them to help you know which category your stove falls into. Here are some of the antique wood stoves that exist:
Benjamin Franklin’s first wood stove, built in 1728, served as a prototype for subsequent wood stove development. The Franklin stove has three iron-hinged doors on each side, just like a fireplace insert. However, the original form was discouraged because of the risk the open front poses and its capacity to burn wood quickly.
This antique wood furnace derives from the Charter oak. The Eisenglass stove features thin sheets of “Mica’’ with intrinsic translucence and flexibility. What’s more, people may observe the flames from the stove’s viewing window.
However, Eisenglass is known to flake, so it’ll likely lose its original hue. The Charter Oak Stove Company manufactured this stove for most of the 18th century.
Ceramic Wood Stove
The ceramic material in this antique wood stove maintains its warmth even after the flames die. Sadly, this style fell out of favor in the 1800s with the introduction of more modern alternatives.
Soapstone Wood Stove
With its unique soapstone construction, the Soapstone wood stove has a distinct advantage over other stoves — it can effectively conduct heat.
The potbelly stove is known for its fire loading area and pipe siphon features. With a barrel-shaped body and shorter length, Potbelly wood stoves are distinct from other wood stove types. These stoves have a circular oven in the middle of the body.
Cast-Iron Wood Burning Stove
Cast iron wood stoves are what strike people’s minds when they hear the term “wood stove.” Due to its cast iron construction, this particular stove has an inert wood door and an exhaust pipe that runs from the rear of the unit.
This type of cast-iron wood stove has an oven for burning wood. They were frequently used in the kitchen and preserved there.
The ovens are usually large and rectangular; some feature shelves and ledges above the oven that serve as storage. Interestingly, the iron body of a Victorian wood stove is often adorned with silver and gold inlays.
Wood Cook Stove
The Wood Cook stoves were specifically built for use in the kitchen. On one side is the oven and on the other is a stove box for burning wood. Moreover, you can start a fire at the top of the stove.
The parlor stove saw extensive use during the Victorian era. However, they stood out due to their diminutive size and more opulent design. The heat from them could only suffice for one or two rooms because of their modest size.
Antique Wood Stove Identification
There are many ways to identify an antique wood stove by looking for certain features. They include:
- Heat Source
- Manufacturer’s mark
- Patent number
Here are more details on that:
Antique Wood Stove Identification Based On Heat Source
Over time, as wood-burning stoves became more popular, manufacturers began to explore other alternatives. Even though wood stoves were popular in the 17th century, they were initially designed to burn just wood.
However, following the coal and iron mining industry boom—right after the Civil War— people opted for coal-burning versions. Between 1880 and 1900, industrialists began looking for an alternative to coal and wood as heat sources. They finally discovered gas as an alternative heat source.
Check your stovetop for signs of wear and tear to determine if your wood-burning stove qualifies as an antique material. Moreover, it won’t be possible to fit an ash pan into a wood-burning stove’s solid base. Also, check if your stove has an adjustable vent that feeds air over the flames from the bottom of the stove.
However, if it’s a coal-burning stove, it’ll perform better following the positioning of the air source below the surface being heated. So, if you look closely, you’ll notice a vent at the top of the fire that provides air to the bottom.
The ash collects through a metal grate at the bottom of the firebox, preventing an ash-induced blockade of air from the bottom of the fire. If you don’t use your fireplace often enough to empty the ash pan, you’ll have to deal with ash buildup.
A gas stove is likely to have a valve that connects to a gas line. On the other hand, it’ll be an electric stove if it has a cord or a section where one may connect it to a power source. These are the more modern stoves and are between 100 and 150 years old.
Antique Wood Stove Identification Through the Manufacturer’s Mark
Many antique wood stoves include a brand mark along the body, but the location differs. Wood stoves made with cast iron will bear the manufacturer’s name stamped into the metal. If you can’t see the manufacturer’s logo, take a close look at the sides of the rear of the stove, paying attention to the base of the stove.
The brand logo to look for will usually include the brand’s name and the model number. It’s not uncommon for newer stove models to feature this labeling type. The following are examples of common brand names that make antique wood-burning stoves:
- Home Comfort
- Queen Atlantic
- Charter Oak Stove Company
Antique Wood Stove Identification Through Patent Number
A wood stove’s patent number is yet another way to identify if it fits into the category of rare antique stoves. This is especially true for cast iron stoves.
You should check the stove’s side for a series of numbers that may begin with the letters “PAT.” Also, to be certain, you can look up the number on the patent database, for instance, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). You should find the charts that include the patent issuing date when you check. That’ll enable you to establish your stove’s age.
Also, note that antique dealers can help you quickly find this information. They’ll only require your stove’s model number and a picture of your stove. With these, they can easily identify if it’s a rare antique kitchen wood stove.
The Value of Antique Wood Stoves
As we mentioned earlier, antique wood stoves are beautiful pieces of furniture that can also serve cooking purposes—as an antique cooking wood stove—and help heat your home. The current value can’t be overemphasized as many antique stores sell these priced items. Surprisingly, you can access pieces that date as far back as the 1870s on the internet.
Knowing the value of your antique wood stoves will help you determine how much you can make from them. Although, most times, it makes you appreciate the value more, making it even more difficult to part with it. The wood-burning stoves made from cast iron are usually the most common antique stoves you’ll find in the market.
While you can have many uses for your stove, whether in the kitchen or as a heater, you may also desire to make money from them. The rarer your old wood-burning stove is, the more significant its value.
So, how do you decipher your old wood stove’s worth? The following section throws light on this.
Determining the Value of Your Antique Wood Stove
Old wood stoves vary when it comes to value. Some may cost about 50 bucks, while others may be priced at hundreds of dollars.
Generally speaking, the value of an antique stove rises with age. Also, the quality of your antique wood stove determines its worth. Any significant damage to your antique stoves—such as extreme rusting, missing parts, cracks, or other significant issues—will lower their market value.
The model’s scarcity can also affect the antique wood stove’s worth. An appraiser can help you determine your antique wood stove’s exact value. It’s also possible to check up on the current listings for vintage stoves on sites like Etsy, Craigslist, eBay, and even the Vatican. These platforms would give you an estimate of the current market value of antique wood stoves for sale.
For instance, the 10-plate stove—one of the early models discussed—is worth over $3,000 at auction. This value is only possible if the old stove features no defects. Also, you can get some other rare models—like the enamel cook stove—at a price range of $1,200 to over $2,500.
The Best Places to Buy Antique Wood Stoves
If you like to shop for antiques in person or online, we’ve compiled a list of places to start your search. Whether you choose to go to a physical store or prefer browsing online, there are many options for antique collectors.
If you go to a physical store, you can see and talk to the seller about the antique wood stoves you’re interested in before you buy. That said, let’s examine the different places you might get an interesting find.
1. Antique Shops
You can get rare antique wood stoves at your antique retailers’ shop, many operating their brick-and-mortar locations. If you want exquisite antique stoves and other collectibles, you can visit stores like Nimbus Antiques. However, if you don’t have a specific shop in mind, you can try searching through reputable antique dealers nearby.
2. Online Auctions
Online auctions have become increasingly popular because it eliminates the stress of driving over to a physical store. Also, online auctions have a larger market as many people across the globe can auction their antique wares to a wider audience. Suffice to say, it’s one of the best places to look for rare antique wood stoves.
However, there’s a need to be wary of fraudulent sellers who display fake antiques and those who won’t deliver the items bought. Also, some online auction stores may display false prices through shill bidding. Hence, it’s important you only get rare antique wood stoves from authorized and trusted sites, including:
eBay takes the top spot thanks to its long history, vast user base, and user-friendly interface. The only challenge is that their prices can be a little high.
There is no better place than Bonanza’s Collectables & Art department to buy rare antique wood stoves online.
eBid is another popular auction site, and they’re good because of the minimal fees they charge sellers. Also, it’s where you can get the best deals on antique wood stoves.
3. Online Marketplaces
You can discover a great deal on one-of-a-kind antique wood stoves or other collectibles on online marketplaces, as they usually have many online antique dealers. Only in a marketplace are you likely to get vintage items at fair value.
Like online auctions, you should only buy from trustworthy websites like eBay. Here are a handful of our favorite marketplaces:
RubyLane is an antique, jewelry, and collectibles store that opened in 1998. They have a strict standard for merchants, and it’s a place you’ll likely find a rare antique wood stove.
Etsy is now home to a thriving vintage market with lots of sellers. If you browse through their Art & Collectibles category, you’ll find many intriguing items, including rare antique wood stoves.
4. Live Online Auctions
Live online auctions aren’t exactly the same as online auctions. The difference is you get to bid on items live which adds a little thrill to the whole experience.
A growing number of high-profile auction houses, such as Christie’s, periodically hold auction sales. The selection of antiquities and the number of auctions held simultaneously are two advantages of these specialized sites. You can bid live on sites like iCollector, LiveAuctioneers, and Invaluable.
5. Live Auction Houses
When it comes to live auctions, you can bid, win, and walk away with your reward, all within a few hours. Auction houses usually conduct pre-auction inspections that allow you to ask any questions you may have regarding the items before they are put up for sale.
You’ll likely find incredibly rare antique wood stoves in Art and collectibles auction houses, like Sotheby’s and Christie’s. These places host auctions that feature high-quality antique items. There are many other auction houses, possibly near you, where you can find what you’re looking for.
6. Antiques Collection Sales
Other places to look for original antique wood stoves are collection sales or places where families auction off their possessions. They can do this through an auction house; however, the most popular ones tend to be those linked to celebrities.
One of the most notable collection sales—the most famous collection sale—was in 1848, when the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos auctioned off his possessions at Stowe House. The Duke was reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy at this point. The collection sale lasted a whopping 40 days, realizing up to £5 million.
7. Antique Fairs
There are lots of beautiful vintage fairs hosted worldwide, offering an opportunity for people to find extremely rare interiors or appliances like wood stoves. If you have something in mind, you should check what the variety of sellers offers.
Some of the popular fairs that exist today include:
- The Annual Buxton Antiques & Collectors Fair, which is considered one of the biggest antique sales in London
- Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen (The Puces) in Paris, France
- Fiera Antiqueria in Arezzo, Tuscany
- New Hampshire Antiques Show in Manchester
8. Flea Markets
You might find a nice deal if you’re willing to dig around here for a unique antique wood stove. Moreover, if you’re one of the first to arrive—even before antique dealers start to troop in— you can get a valuable antique stove at a giveaway price just before the seller is hinted that they’re giving out a valuable antique item.
Many flea markets abound worldwide, and several collectors find the best antiques there. Here are some popular flea markets:
9. Bric-a-brac and Charity Shops
A few antiques slip through charity shops and end up on a shop’s display. It’s possible they’ve not been vetted by local antique dealers, and you may likely get them at a giveaway price. However, it’s important you look around a charity shop before making a purchase to check that the items are genuine and not fake.
Can I use an antique cast iron wood stove for decoration?
If you maintain your antique wood stove, it can last many years. You can think of various ideas to transform your stove into a beautiful décor. You can use the cast iron wood stove to make floral décor. You can also make your antique wood stove into an ottoman or other beautiful furniture.
Where can I find an antique wood stove for sale?
You can get an antique stove at a garage sale or an auction sale. Most people prefer to buy antique wood stoves online on eBay, Etsy, and online auction platforms.
When was the antique Franklin wood stove made?
In 1741, Benjamin Franklin invented the Franklin wood stove, a freestanding, cast iron fireplace insert that’s still in use today. Benjamin Franklin is widely regarded as one of the greatest inventors of all time.
Can I use an antique wood stove restoration service?
Yes, you can restore or refurbish your antique wood stove if it’s in bad shape. Most people do this to revive the value of their antique material. You can have a professional restore the stove and even transform it into decorative furniture.
Is an antique kitchen wood stove valuable?
Yes, antique wood stoves are valuable. While the value of an antique wood stove rises with age, its condition also significantly impacts its market value. You can get an antique wood stove sold at a price ranging from a few dollars to hundreds, and even thousands.
Antique wood stoves bring a sense of nostalgia and old style to your home. They’re not only useful as decorative pieces but can be functional. An antique wood stove can be valuable for heating your home and preparing food even amid a power outage. Most people prefer to have them in their kitchen, and some may even come with shelves to provide extra storage space in your kitchen.
You’d be surprised at how many old wood stoves are still used today. Usually, they’re in demand by hotels with a historical theme that often uses antique wood stoves.
For many reasons, antique collectors also seek antique wood stoves. This is especially true for an exceptionally rare wood stove. You’ll get a great value for it, underscoring the need to determine its true worth before selling it.