Through the fire: Origins and History of the Woodburning Cookstove

Elmira Stove Works

From its roots as an 18th-century innovation to a kitchen essential and creative catalyst, the woodburning cookstove boasts multinational origins, world-renowned developers, and revolutionary efficiency. And as the cookstove enters something of a renaissance, Elmira Stove Works leads the way with enhanced styling and performance of this appliance icon.

Focusing the flames

The wood burner comes from humble beginnings in the Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine region of northeastern France. The first woodburning cookstove patent was established in 1557 in the city of Strasbourg.

In the earliest stages, these stoves were considered luxury items, due to the expense of materials. It would take the arrival of the Industrial Revolution — some two centuries later — to make iron affordable enough for the wood cookstove to spread in availability and popularity.

The design was simple and sensible: a closed, solid cast iron or steel fire chamber atop a ceramic base with an adjustable…

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