Stoves were created to heat the space around it or to heat the items placed on it. The term "stove" originally meant a single heated room. The idea evolved to enclose the open fire preventing air from being sucked from the room into the chimney, resulting in a loss of heat. These fire chambers were eventually covered by an iron plate and masonry walls enclosing the three sides.
In 1735, the Castrol stove or stew stove was the first design made of stone which completely enclosed the fire. Later, to improve heat efficiency more, pots were hung through the top iron plate.
Benjamin Franklin in 1742 patented the all metal stove, called the Franklin stove, which was designed for heating, not cooking. The 19th century brought us our first sight of a metal kitchen stove, the Rumford fireplace. Largely designed for castle kitchens, one fire was used to heat and regulate each individual pot. Another 30 years would pass before the iron stove would be ready for domestic use.
In 1834, the Oberlin stove became a commercial success with over 90,000 units sold over the next 30 years. Eventually flu pipes connected to the chimney and the open holes for the pots to hang turned into iron rings where the pots were placed.
In the 1850's, two corporations sprung up, Ringen Stove Company and Quick Meal Stove Company. They sold housewares, cooking stoves and washing machines. Eventually these led to the merger of eight other stove companies to form the American Stove Company. They introduced the first brand name, Magic Chef, and the first temperature control device. The American Stove Company became so well known in the cooking community for its Magic Chef stoves, they eventually changed their name to match. After merging with several companies through the years, the company was acquired by Whirlpool Corporation in 2006.
Stoves today come in a variety of different types: electric coil, flat ceramic and gas burner. It's important to properly maintain your stove to maintain its efficiency, safety and useful life. Here are some common stove parts to help keep your stove looking like new.