Questions About Using an Old Parlor Stove

Learn the ins and outs of designs that date back to the turn of the last century. Whether you are looking to restore an antique stove or have questions about modern reproductions you'll find the answers to your questions here.
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LsFarm
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Post Sun. Dec. 30, 2012 10:27 am

That stove is on Ebay, and it has been severely overheated. The firepot is junk, and would be
Difficult to even use as a pattern to recast a new pot from. It's cracked and split, and doesn't look
like it can be removed, being so distorted.

The grate doesn't appear to be the correct one, there are open corners around the grate. I believe
There are missing parts and/or the wrong type of gtrate used to replace the damaged original.

I've tried to get additional photos from this seller, with only sarcastic replies. He won't even
Check a measurement for me.

The seller has too high a price for the condition, and is hiding additional condition problems.

Id stay. FAR, FAR AWAY from this stove. You'd be MUCH better off paying 3x or 4x the money
And get a rebuilt, waranteed stove from a reputable stove rebuilder.

Greg L
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?


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nortcan
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Post Sun. Dec. 30, 2012 6:15 pm

Greg is right on that: if the seller seems to be hiding things or doesn't cooperates to give you all the answers to your questions stay away from him and his stove/s.
Greg did ask probably more questions than the common buyers and he has a long road on the stove's pavement, and that is very hard on a ""dishonest"" or ""close to be"" seller. Antique stoves is a different world. Can be the best :) or the worst one :(

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michaelanthony
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Post Sun. Dec. 30, 2012 9:44 pm

michaelanthony wrote:Ok....christmas is over let's get movin' I demand to see a new stove fired up pronto, quit typing and start heating ;) :lol:
Barbara pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...I...I mean computer screen, I was being sarcastic. Greg was dead on, an antique maybe a tough road for a first stove, the good looks would blind me. I ended up with a square chunk of steel with a few miles with the help of Freddy and others I was able to burn coal and keep warm. Take your time...but hurry :P :lol:
never yell through a screen...you'll strain your voice.

PJT
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Post Mon. Dec. 31, 2012 1:25 am

this one might work out for you if you are anywhere near CT :
**Broken Link(s) Removed**

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wsherrick
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Post Mon. Dec. 31, 2012 4:05 am

The best of for your purposes that you have shown us is the Happy Thought Oak Stove. It is complete and wouldn't take an expert long to restore it. It would provide you with the heat and versatility you need and it would be efficient enough to pay for itself in a short time.
Here is the thing. I'm gonna tell it like it is. Every body wants something for cheap. You get what you pay for. Any stove, I mean ANY stove old or new that you find on ebay or craigslist has to be rebuilt and restored. You can't use a stove and expect it to give adequate, safe performance if hasn't been restored. That is true across the board. By the time you find one you want and send it off to be restored you will have spent nearly as much or as much as buying one from a stove restorer that is in mint condition. All you have to do in that case is unpack it, hook it up and use it.
It is well worth the cost and will pay for itself in no time.
I recommend an Oak type stove for you since you might want to burn wood in it sometimes.
An excellent, large capacity Oak stove restored, in perfect condition can be had for prices between $1,500 and $2,000 dollars. Not any more expensive than a new box stove.
Emery at Antique Stove Hospital or Doug at Barnstable Stove Shop has the perfect stove in stock for you. All you have to do is tell them what you are looking for.
I suggest a Glenwood Oak, Glenwood Modern Oak, Andes Oak, Herald Oak, Crawford or any stove made by a Northeastern Foundry.
I will put up some pictures of some of these stoves so you can see what I am talking about.
Both of these pictures came from Barnstable Stove Shop.
Attachments
dsc00187small.jpg
Glenwood Modern Oak.
dsc00187small.jpg (16.79 KiB) Viewed 1719 times
DSC00197_t.jpg
Large Glenwood Oak.
DSC00197_t.jpg (17.06 KiB) Viewed 1718 times

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SteveZee
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Post Mon. Dec. 31, 2012 9:08 am

Barbara, I see that you live in Pa which is certainly coal country. There should be a dearth of stoves in your area although at this time of year, they might not be listed or are in use. In Maine there is The Love Barn (I know, strange name;-)) and the owner, Mark is a nice guy and does good work. You can see what he's got at his web site. Bryant's in Maine also has some nice stuff and very fair prices. For my money, Emory at the Stove Hospital, is the best in the business. His inventory changes monthly and he is a very busy guy. Doug at Barnstable, also a top notch restorer. Obviously these are all for premium cast iron Antique stoves from the era where coal was king and thus are very capable.

You can certainly find a box type steel stove as an alternative and if you go that route, get one with a hopper and thermostatic damper. They work well for the beginner but are utilitarian in looks but that's in the beholder. ;) Whatever you decide, stay tuned and ask questions. We will all be here to help you along.

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barbaragraver
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Post Mon. Dec. 31, 2012 11:29 am

Greg, thank you so much for the information! I thought it looked like something was missing or wrong with the grates but knowing very little about stoves I didn't know for sure. I am so glad I posted the picture here before going to look at it.

You are right Steve there are a lot of stoves locally. We've seen several and looked at another one last night. It wasn't a bad stove (cabinet style parlor stove) but small with the grates a little ragged. Most of the stoves we've seen real close to home are in pretty rough shape. Part of this is because some are in use, I'm sure, but I think a lot just aren't around anymore. I know that when I first started doing home health nursing (late 80s) I ran into a lot of people using old (mostly cooking) stoves for heat. That is no longer the case so I think that unfortunately as the older people passed many of these older stove were simply scrapped. Sad.

I think we may get the Sterling stove after all. It is only about an hour away and seems to be in good shape. I like the look of it and while I know it won't heat the whole house, I think it will warm up the downstairs pretty well and be a good back up for the gas furnace in the event of a power failure. I like that we can use wood if we want to, also, which was one of the draw backs to the newer stoves for me. I did get to see it burn, saw that the doors are tight, grates turn easily etc. I think its a good stove for the money and is hopefully usable pretty much as is with CO2 detectors all around.

We actually might get a second stove down the line for the kitchen or unheated part of the upstairs because now that I've started looking at old stoves I've found that I love them. It's possible that we might have a bit more to spend on a second stove and could possibly get something a little more interesting then - or even a super cool stove from Doug or Emery. I do love their stoves. And would really love to have one of the old gas / coal combination cook stoves in my kitchen!

Of course deciding on a stove is only part of one of this drama. Now there is the installation, learning how to burn coal etc. All I really remember about using coal was that my grandfather seemed to spend a lot of time in the cellar but I think part of that was that he liked to be busy. I'm sure I'll be asking more questions as things progress.

Wishing everyone a very happy New Year!!

Barbara
Attachments
sterling1.JPG
pic of Sterling for anyone who missed it
stove4.JPG
Sterling grate, looking ok to the untrained eye.

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barbaragraver
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Post Mon. Dec. 31, 2012 11:37 am

Hi wsherrick. Just noticed your post. Will certainly taken another look at the sites you mentioned, if they have stoves available for $1500 that's a thought. Thanks :)


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nortcan
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Post Mon. Dec. 31, 2012 12:06 pm

Very good idea :idea: Barbara. If you can, go for a ""trusted"" place if you want a good stove.
About time staying around an antique coal stove, you will learn why very fast, a sort of passion I think :), plus, antique stoves become the important point very fast in a house, making a ""need" for a second one or more very fast, about like a nice ""contamination"".

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barbaragraver
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Post Mon. Dec. 31, 2012 10:14 pm

Yes a trusted place definitely has its appeal. My significant other is interested in the second hand stove however (Sterling) and wanted me to ask if others felt that any potential safety issues could be addressed by use of an automatic damper to avoid overheating and the use of CO2 detectors. Don't know if anyone will be checking in tonight but I just wanted to ask this as we promised an answer to the seller by tomorrow.

Its not that I'm not willing to have a stove restored just don't think that this particular stove warrants that kind of investment.

Thanks to anyone who might check in :)

franco b
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Post Tue. Jan. 01, 2013 11:26 am

Carbon monoxide detectors are a must of course.

Filling that fire pot will have an enormous amount of heat potential that must be controlled.

To control it, it is essential that the bottom door not leak around the edges and that the shutter arrangement also be tight. Close a dollar bill in several positions in that door and it should hold tight. It might need a gasket to be tight. Open that door and shine a flashlight on the back and see if any light leaks through to the front through the air shutter when it is closed.

There are a series of slots below the name plate that look to be at grate level. Those slots must have means to close them. They might be to slide a flat poker over the grate to help clear ash. The opening to insert the crank to shake the grates also must not allow too much air to enter.

I suspect the fire pot is unlined with fire brick. This makes it much harder to hold a low fire as too much heat escapes through the sides and the coal burns unevenly which will tend to make a nice even shake down unlikely as it burns in the center and half burns at the edges. With a high fire it burns more evenly.

A barometric damper will tend to hold the draft more constant automatically while a manual damper will remain constant only while draft is constant. The stoves were run originally with the manual damper. Your chimney and how well it pulls should figure in the decision.

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barbaragraver
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Post Tue. Jan. 01, 2013 1:00 pm

That's Franco. I appreciate the info. Also the advice given by WS and everyone who weighed in. We decided to pass on the Sterling. We liked it but just didn't feel comfortable using it without having it restored and didn't feel that the value of the stove warranted restoration.

Thinking we will probably go with either the Pittston stove or a rebuilt oak cylinder stove from one of the restorers mentioned. Soo...still don't know what stove we will be getting exactly but feel much better to have clear idea of what we are looking for.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful New Year's Day :)

Barbara

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SteveZee
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Glenwood Modern Oak 116 & Glenwood 208 C Range
Location: Downeast , Maine

Post Tue. Jan. 01, 2013 8:24 pm

barbaragraver wrote:That's Franco. I appreciate the info. Also the advice given by WS and everyone who weighed in. We decided to pass on the Sterling. We liked it but just didn't feel comfortable using it without having it restored and didn't feel that the value of the stove warranted restoration.

Thinking we will probably go with either the Pittston stove or a rebuilt oak cylinder stove from one of the restorers mentioned. Soo...still don't know what stove we will be getting exactly but feel much better to have clear idea of what we are looking for.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful New Year's Day :)

Barbara
I think you have made a wise choice to pass on the Sterling. As Richard (Franco) mentioned, it would need some attention to function properly for you and that grate set up is not ideal for anthracite coal.

I don't remember the size you are trying ot heat or the location of where the stove will be located but these are important issues. My Glenwood Modern Oak 116 is currently heating about 1600sq ft and my cookstove another 1000sq ft. My house is 226 years old, L shaped with many original windows and it's currently 9° here on the Maine coast, and about 0° with the windchill.
The house is 71 degrees with the stoves at 400°. So I still have a good bit of capacity left if I need it. I have used no oil this season at all, check that, I was gone for 4 days and the house sitter used the furnace. Just to give you an idea about what you might expect. All situations are different, but the info is good for ball parking it.
A cylinder style oak stove (with divided "indirect" back pipe) would be an excellent candidate. I'm very pleased with mine.

Happy New Year and Happy Stove hunting.
PS: if you can describe the size of your home or what you want to heat space wise, we can get a better idea of what size stove you'll need and help you search.
Last edited by SteveZee on Wed. Jan. 02, 2013 5:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dcrane
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Post Tue. Jan. 01, 2013 9:05 pm

wsherrick wrote:A refresher course in stove types might be in order here.
Your Happy Thought is what is called an "Oak," type stove. These are defined as a cylinder stove such as you have here and it is a direct draft stove. That means the air for combustion comes in a the bottom of the stove and exits out the top. The Oak stove was a basic design which was intended to be able to use more than one type of fuel. There is an endless variety of Oak Stoves as they were made by thousands of Foundries and were produced in the millions over roughly a 50 year period. 99% of all stoves of any type are direct draft stoves regardless of the era they were made in. All box stoves made today are direct draft stoves and they are based on the basic 19th Century Cottage Heater design. A design which was solely made for wood consumption, not coal. The only exception is the Vermont Castings, Vigilant which has indirect draft paths which mimic a base heater.

The Sterling Stove was made in the 20's and these fall in the category of "Circulator," type heaters. These are designed to draw cold air up from the floor, heat it; then send hot air out of the top of the stove. In some applications, circulators work well. These were made all the way up into the 1980's. The last being a, "Warm Morning," brand stove made by the Locke Stove Company. I
If you look at the grates on the Sterling you will notice they are flat. These stoves were made to burn Soft Coal mainly. The grate design reflects that. You can burn Anthracite in them just fine but they aren't as highly engineered as the earlier stoves which were specifically made for the fuel used. They can be good stoves but are not as efficient as the upright cylinder design.

The next type is a base heater or base burner. They were made specifically for Anthracite Coal only as their fuel. The only exceptions to that are stoves such as a Glenwood Base Heater which is an advancement of the Oak Stove design. See picture below.
GOD I love it when I hear someone who knows their *censored*!!! Im going to give my two cents here as well... When you said parlor stove all I was thinking was "Ohhh god" another repro sheet metal piece 0 crap, but then you posted the pics of this beauty!!! There is zero doubt here the sterling is NOT the stove to use (if you went that route then simply go buy a Chappee or warm morning since they can be purchased for pennies on the dollar), That Pitt on the other hand is the "real deal"! The castings of that beast are so far superior then anything you could ever find today and its well worth getting it back up and producing the heat its begging to produce! heck... if that thing was near MA id take it just for a project to do!

idk who that sherick dude is but I like him! well done mate

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barbaragraver
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Post Mon. Jan. 14, 2013 11:16 pm

We did end up buying the Pittston stove, traveling about 3 1/2 hours each way to the NY Finger Lakes to bring the Happy Thought back home to Pittston PA.

We're waiting to hear back from Emory at the Stove Hospital and will be traveling again to take the stove to him. Here is a picture of it in my kitchen (please disregard the moving boxes!) Will have more pictures once it is restored.

Thanks to everyone who offered their time and advice!!

Barbara
Attachments
imagejpeg_2.jpg
Happy Thought 1
imagejpeg_2(1).jpg
Happy Thought 2


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