Beautiful and Functional

This tile stove was made by the Low Art Tile company in Chelsea, MA in the 1880s. The frame is cast iron and the surface is ceramic tile molded with a Classical motif. It is shown with a coal basket but still has the original wood-burning grate too.

The work of British tile makers drew high praise and a lot of media attention at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia and a number of American tile companies were founded to tap the obvious public interest in artistic tiles in the years that followed. The Low Art Tile Company was founded in 1878 and produced high quality ceramic tile for the American market.

Tile stoves were popular during the late 19th century, doing double duty as a beautiful object and an efficient way to radiate heat into a room. The spread of central heating systems reduced the market for heating stoves and production of tile stoves largely ceased by World War I.

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.

The 720-page hardcover book is now in stores and available from online retailers. Signed copies are available directly from the author on this site. Your local bookstore can order copies from their W.W. Norton rep.

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