Saturday, March 10, 2012
Thought Your Fireplace Heated Your House Long Ago? Think Again.
Most fireplaces were outfitted beginning in the 1870s with a "Latrobe Stove.” These devises were invented in Baltimore, Maryland by John Hazelhurst Latrobe (1803-1891), the son of noted engineer and architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, and are sometimes coined a “Baltimore Heater.”
They were squat and round, about 20 inches in diameter at the base, and stood about two feet high. They fitted into a fireplace opening and burned coal, requiring a daily cleaning of a somewhat messy ash tray. There were 30,000 in use by 1878 in Baltimore alone!