One of the most used appliances in our homes is our stoves. Did you know that as early as Roman times stoves made of clay, tile, or earthenware were in use in central and Northern Europe. Early Swiss stoves of clay or brick, without chimneys, were built against the outer house wall, with an opening to the outside through which they were fueled and through which the smoke could escape. Scarcity of fuel made an economical heat-retaining device necessary, and these primitive stoves, built of clay, brick, tile, or plastered masonry.
The Franklin stove, invented in 1743 and used for heating, was the lineal descendant of the fireplace, being at first only a portable down-draft iron fireplace that could be set into, or before, the chimney. It was soon elaborated into what was known as the Pennsylvania fireplace, with a grate and sliding doors. In common use for a period after the Revolution, it was followed by a variety of heaters burning wood and coal. The base burner, or magazine coal heater, was widely used before the general adoption of central heating.
Modern stoves are now much easier. Since gas and electricity have become generally available, the wood-burning or coal-burning range has been largely superseded by a wide variety of cooking apparatus, using natural or manufactured gas, oil, acetylene, gasoline, or electricity as fuel.