Batsto Furnace

I recently spent the day working at the Burlington County Historical Society in Burlington, New Jersey. While there I was able to examine and photograph what is, for me, one of the treasures of their collection – a carved-wood pattern used to produce one side of a ten-plate cast iron stove. A small number of complete cast-iron stoves along with numerous chimneybacks and disassociated stove plates made in the Philadelphia region during the second half of the eighteenth century survive, but less than a handful of the carved wood patterns used to make an impression in moist sand into which the molten steel would be cast are extant. Primarily produced in furnaces in the Schuylkill Valley and West Jersey, or South Jersey as it is known today, six-plate stoves were introduced about 1760 and ten-plate stove were probably being made by the early 1770s.

In 1766 a dam was built on the Batsto River near its junction with the Atsion and Mullica rivers and the Batsto Furnace was established. The mahogany side-plate pattern at the Burlington Historical Society was probably carved in Philadelphia c. 1775. Its low-relief blend of rococo and neoclassical elements marks the end, in the eighteenth century, of carving playing the primary role in the decoration of furniture and other objects produced for, and desired by the gentry. The winds of many changes were blowing.

Enjoy the photos, they will open to full size when clicked on.

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5 thoughts on “Batsto Furnace

  1. This is great, Chris. We don’t get to see something like this very often. How deep is the carving? Would they have relieved the background with with a router plane to get it level?

    Thanks,

    Kirk

  2. This is fascinating. Obviously someone carved the pattern in any cast metal object, but I had never expected that that pattern would still be around. One question, could you clarify “six Plate” and “ten plate” stoves? I see that there are six individual planks of timber which comprise this pattern that you are showing, but if that is how it is counted, then it would seem to me that the stove would be a 14 plate (assuming one for the front, one for the back, and six for each side) however, if you add a top and bottom, that would make it 16 plates. (like the so-called six plank chests) as you can see, depending on how you count plates, there could be any number in one stove…

    PS, thanks for the link to the marking stamp website in your earlier post.

    Johann

  3. A six-plate stove has a top, bottom, two sides, and a front and back. There is a small door on the front to load fuel. A ten-plate stove is instantly recognizable by the addition of two larges doors on either side that open to a “four-plate” box that can be used to cook or heat food. The Basto Furnace side plate wood pattern has large separate center section that can be removed and cast separately as a door that will be hinged to the side for use in a ten-plate stove, or the side can be cast in one piece, as seen in the historic photograph in the next post, for use in a six-plate stove.
    Other cast iron objects that needed carved wood patterns includ Franklin stoves – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_stove – and firebacks – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fireplace_fireback.

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