Cast iron stoves largely replaced open fires for heating in the mid-19th century. Franklin stoves were an intermediate step in that process, bringing the fire out into the room and taking advantage of the radiant properties of cast iron, but not yet enclosing the fire with a door. Such stoves can still be used for supplemental heating, and ambiance, burning wood or converted to gas as here.
An unvented gas log unit has been installed in this cast iron Franklin stove (also called a Franklin fireplace). The homeowner carefully drilled a hole in the cast iron for the gas pipe, starting with a very small bit size and enlarging the hole by increasing the bit size in consecutive passes.
Chapter 8 of Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners discusses historic heating systems and delves into appropriate options for modern and efficient HVAC systems that don’t distract from the historic character of your home.
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