Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Wood Cook Stove Research

Since I didn't get out to the site to take any pictures last night, I though I'd post a bit more about my wood cook stove. Here's a picture of the oven door, which has "Monarch Malleable" printed in a stylish blue & black flourish across the white enamel. Monarch Malleable stoves fueled by wood, gas, coal and electricity seem to be pretty common, according to the internet - lots of the newer ones (1950's or so) are listed for sale. The older ones (like mine) don't show up so often, although I did find a similar one on E-bay (no historical info available there, I'm afraid).
As you can see from the picture below (showing the ash clean-out door and other front-left pannels) the stove was made by the Malleable Iron Range Co. of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. 4556N looks like a model number, or at least some kind of clue to identifying the stove. And, in case it wasn't clear what fueled this stove, "WOOD" is helpfully emblazoned across the top pannel.
Seems like these should be enough clues to find out all there is to know about this stove, right? Well...

I've been working my way through the internet for some time now, trying to learn what I can about the history of this stove - when it was made, by whom, what features set it apart from other stoves, etc. The first thing I learned is that the people who know this sort of stuff are - putting it kindly - not very internet savvy. With a few exceptions, most of the sites devoted to antique wood stoves are a mess. And, since the Malleable Iron Range Co. went bankrupt in 1985 there is very little info online about them. (The info I did find mostly related to the Superfund clean-up of their abandoned factory in Beaver Dam. Nice.)

One of the things I'd REALLY like to know about the stove is when it was made. Having perused all the antique cookstove pictures I could find (a nice assortment can be found here), my guess is that it dates somewhere between 1900 and 1920. Mine isn't as ornate as most of the stoves that are featured on vintage stove sites, which doesn't surprise me at all. My ancestors didn't really go in for frilly gew-gaws any more than I do (thank goodness). Plain and practical, efficient, economical, sensible and sturdy - these are very "Pobstian" qualities. :)

One of the better sites I've found is for the Homestead Vintage Stove Company, which happens to be located in Skykomish, about 100 miles from Bellingham and right on the way to my parent's place. I'll have to stop in and see their showroom sometime on my way over Hwy 2. I called them to see if they could give me any additional information about the stove, but their showroom is only open on Fridays and Saturdays. I'll call back...

17 comments:

Paul said...

Very cool. We threw (or rather dragged) out the old cookstove from the cottage (in Canada) a few years ago. It now sites in the woods rusting away. I wish we could have done something else with it, but it was beyond any repair to make it useful again. Since the cottage is on an island, we would need to boat it across the channel and that thing is heavy. It is cool to see one in good condition.

addie said...

Oh, that is sad. They can restore some pretty crazy-bad-condition stoves, but being on an island is a tough hurdle. Some things you just have to let die, I guess.

On the other hand, a lot of the sites I visited during my research seem to be looking for stove parts, so you might want to look and see if there are any smaller peices that you could detach and cart away. You might make somebody very happy...

Chuck said...

Hey there, I'm from the Maltby area, about 80 miles or so south of bellingham..

I have Nearly the same identical stove. it's been a lifesaver many times when the power has gone out (like right now) providing both heat and a means to do cooking.

That is a Dual Fuel stove by the way. There is a handle that fits on that square peg next to the 'wood' sign, and it lets you change the grate config in the firebox over to burn COAL. The wood sign is telling you that it's in wood mode.

Anonymous said...

Hello. I have a stove just like yours except my number is 4356N. It looks almost identical and is in good shape. It was sitting for years in our rental house and we just sold the house so we relocated the stove to a storage place. Do you have any new information regarding age, value, etc? The stove is really neat and I wish I owned a cabin up in the mountains where I can use it!!! Great pictures and website!

Jayelynn28 said...

What a wonderful piece you have. Hang on to it. Unfortunately, we modernized our kitchen in the mid 1980's and sold our 1915 Monarch Malleary wood cook stove. We all have had those moments; "What was I thinking?" I remember four children who required a lot of time. I thought it would be easier with an electric stove and we traded a friend. I've kicked myself many times for my youthful ignorance. Our stove was complete with the exception of the broken oven handle. I contacted the Chamber of Commerce in Beaver Dam, WI. They gave me the company's name who bought the building which after 21 years I have forgotten. They had one oven handle in an old crate for our stove and charged me fifteen dollars for it. My husband, an electro-plater by trade at the time, had nickle plated the legs among other intricate parts including the fire box cranks and lifter handles. Our friend is not interested in selling it back to us. We are now looking at one in Kansas. There seems to be great difficulty in finding these where they won't require a lot of work and at affordable prices. Regardless of how hard times get hang on to your stove and enjoy!

Susan said...

Hi, my sister has just designed a Monarch Range website as she is a collector of Monarch Range memorabilia. The website is: www.monarchrange.com

Carl said...

I have this same stove for sale in Seattle WA http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/hsh/458819182.html.

Carl said...

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/hsh/458819182.html

Removed the period from the link

joel said...

We bought ours from a private party a few years back, the stove is in excellent condition, the number on the door is 5856N. Now installed in a log home, we are just getting ready to hook it up. Will be used for backup cooking, heat and fun.

Rita said...

I have this identical stove in the garage of a Victoriuan home I recently restored. In great shape. Same colors.It also has a gas conversion burner kit.Anyone have an idea on value or potential buyers?
ita 909-725-0321

prairielady said...

From the catalogs I've collected your Monarch range was built between 1920-1922. Catalog #20, issued in 1919, has model numbers staring with "3", and Catalog #23, issued in either 1922 or 1923, has model numbers starting with "5". Hope this helps. Linda (owner of monarchrange.com)

sanfranciscaine@yahoo.com said...

I have a similar stove, same number, but without the white facade...and I am finding the same issues trying to research the stove. Did you ever find a price range for yours? I'm thinking selling the thing might help me get a roof.

khanyow said...

I have a 1908 Monarch. It is black iron: Your stove must have been made a few years after that. You shuld visit www.monarchrange.com. It has a lot of good information

LeAnn said...

Try this website. I found out that my stove is either 1922 or 1923.

http://www.monarchrange.com/Catalogs/index.htm

Anonymous said...

I have a monarch malleable 1928 HE-37 full enamel finish, Its in good shape.Just wondering what its value is? thanks tony.

javieth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Addie said...

Wow, I had no idea this post had attracted so much attention over the years! The www.monarchrange.com site is a great resource. I just looked through the old monarch catalogs on that site and it does appear that my stove model - 4556N - would have been from 1920 or 21. The 1919 catalog model #s begin with '3' and the 1922 catalog model #s begin with a '5'.

Most interesting to me is the price list. In 1913, the 556N was sold for $56.50, and by 1927 the 7556N with "white semi enamel" was up to a whopping $84.40!

I still have not refurbished the stove so it remains in storage. I actually had the ridiculous notion that I would refurbish it while on maternity leave (hahaha!) but of course that didn't happen. Now that my little guy is almos three I'm starting to think I might be able to get back into the stove project. I've got 10 years to get it into place in my kitchen (there is a chimney waiting for it) ready to make a fire on its centenial birthday!