Stove, device used for heating or cooking. The first of historical record was built in 1490 in Alsace, entirely of brick and tile, including the flue. The later Scandinavian stove had a tall, hollow iron flue containing iron baffles arranged to lengthen the travel of the escaping gases in order to extract maximum heat. The Russian stove had as many as six thick-walled masonry flues; it is still widely used in northern countries. The stove is often installed at the intersection of interior partition walls in such a manner that a portion of the stove and the flue is inside each of four rooms; a fire is maintained until the stove and flues are hot, and then the fire is extinguished and the flues closed, storing the heat.
The first manufactured cast-iron stove was produced at Lynn, Mass., in 1642. This stove had no grates and was little more than a cast-iron box. About 1740 Benjamin Franklin invented the “Pennsylvania fireplace,” which incorporated the basic principles of the heating stove. The Franklin stove burned wood on a grate and had sliding doors that could be used to control the draft (flow of air) through it. Because the stove was relatively small, it could be installed in a large fireplace or used free-standing in the middle of a room by connecting it to a flue. The Franklin stove warmed farmhouses, city dwellings, and frontier cabins throughout North America. Its design influenced the potbellied stove, which was a familiar feature in some homes well into the 20th century. The first round cast-iron stoves with grates for cooking food on them were manufactured by Isaac Orr at Philadelphia, Pa., in 1800. The base-burning stove for burning anthracite coal was invented in 1833 by Jordan A. Mott.
Cooking became the predominant function of stoves in the 20th century as central heating became the norm in the developed world. Iron cooking stoves using wood, charcoal, or coal tended to radiate large amounts of heat that made the kitchen unpleasantly hot during the summertime, however. In the 20th century they were replaced by steel ranges or ovens that are heated by natural gas or electricity.