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Pot-Bellied Stoves Are Heaters Too

Updated on May 13, 2020
kenneth avery profile image

Many of my hubs originate from my teenage years and those past twenty. Some pieces were funny. Some were sad,.Some were down right scary.

Pot-Bellied Stove in Hopewell, N.J., inside a train station.
Pot-Bellied Stove in Hopewell, N.J., inside a train station. | Source

First Off, The Pot-Bellied Stove

has no real creator. There was a patent was filed in the '90s, the pot-bellied stove has humble beginnings in history far before. The pot-bellied stove was first documented in the 1800s to 1820s, by The Old Farmer's Almanac's Robert Bailey Thomas idelic quote: “So then, you have a cooking stove! This is economical, saving much wood and labour. At the first of this story, the quote does make sense.

Seriously-speaking, if you grew up with a pot-bellied stove or even went by a pot-bellied stove which was in dead-center of a rural general store and there you would fine a gang of old guys, and a few young men, discussing everything from politics to religion, but not debating enough to rise to a good session of fist-a-cuffs. No, sir. This is not to say that the ones who huddled by our buddy, the pot-bellied stove, were not wimps. Some were raw lumberjacks, commercial fishermen, and the farmers who knew that when they entered the general store in the winter time, they would instantly feel good and let the heat of the stove infiltrate their bodies.

The pot-bellied stove, or is it a heater? Maybe we could slide by allowing it to be both, depending on what it was designed to. Some variations of the pot-bellies were used to cook when families (who lived in Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, and Maine) could not get out on the roads due to the four-inches of ice on the road and the sharp-eyed state troopers who patrolled such roads and were not a bit bashful about blue lighting the speed transgressor to give him a stern talking to and stiff ticket. What I am trying to say is a pot-bellied stove (or heater) served the invention and then some.

Washington State Historical Society enjoy a good talk by the stove.
Washington State Historical Society enjoy a good talk by the stove. | Source

Our Friend, The Pot-Bellied Stove

was really, a “heater for all seasons.” But sadly, these always-faithful of early appliances made of pure United States iron, somehow were overlooked and many times, taken for granted. This, friends, is a sad shape to be in for the pot-bellied stove.

I suppose it was easy to be overlooked and taken for granted even if you sat in dead-center of someone’s basement or small rural general store where all the customers knew everyone on a first-name basis and just conducted their business, and visited with the “usual's” who were at the store each time you walked in—those who were retired and really having no place to go. Or maybe they never took a wife or husband and begun to bond with the other folks who kept warm by the pot-bellied stove and by the fiery conversation from each one in the store.

But there it sat. Not speaking at all. Not moving. Just present to do something for others. How do I know that this formula is right? You who know what I am talking about will testify that those of this thinking would suddenly know what real winter’s cold was if the pot-bellied heater were to be stolen or some of the inner-most pieces failed. These two situations would paralyze a place of business or a friendly basement simply by the two situations that I have just said.

The only attention that our good buddy, the pot-bellied stove ever got was when the store owner or homeowner would light the first (and probably the last depending on the size of the stove or heater) and walk away to conduct what they needed to do on that day, so I can see how a much-valued item such as the pot-bellied stove could be overlooked like it was years ago and like it is today in 2020. I am not being flip here, but I do wish that our President, Donald J. Trump, and the Federal Congress and Senate would proclaim a certain day in the winter time, a national “The Pot-Bellied Stove Celebration.” If these powers-that-be, would just do that . . .I would write the various parties in a hub just geared to say thanks for that one gesture.

One of the best past-times in America was sitting around a warm pot-bellied stove.
One of the best past-times in America was sitting around a warm pot-bellied stove. | Source

Here Are a Few Thoughts About

the pot-bellied stove. I hope that I can present the ideas in a way that will bring respect and a bit of fame to the pot-bellied stove.

  • The pot-bellied stove is not to be used as a storage bin for a husband’s secret stash of Playboy. If so, the magazine will be burned because we all know that a woman can start a fire a lot better than a man. No harm.

  • This valuable item, the pot-bellied stove, is not something used to be played in a garage band.

  • Do not, please, drag and haul your pot-bellied stove up a big hill (when a big snow has fallen) and urge your pals to sit on the heater with you and ride down that hill without falling off.

  • The pot-bellied stove makes a terrible place to hide Christmas presents.

  • And teenage guys, do not try and hide your beer or whiskey inside the pot-bellied stove in your basement. If your mom makes a fire for a really cold day, you will hear the distinctive sound of aluminum cans and bottles exploding.

  • Speaking of drinks. If your family has an annual Christmas party, do not let “Uncle Delton,” who has become really smashed, to try and hide in the pot-bellied stove in order to sleep it off.

  • Do not insult your pot-bellied stove like the robot on Lost in Space, by making your stove try to do everything the robot on the TV show do. You will have to provide him a voice. Oh, and install those deadly lasers that Lost in Space’s robot uses to defend himself.

In closing, do something nice each time you pass your pot-bellied stove by clicking at him like George “Goober Pyle” Lindsey does on the Andy Griffith Show. Or you can just say, “Mr. Pot Belly Stove, we love you and thank you for the wood that you burn to let us keep warm.”

The pot-bellied stoves of American will appreciate it. I can hear them applauding from here.

May 12, 2020______________________________________________________


© 2020 Kenneth Avery

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    • Donna-Rayne profile image

      Donna Rayne 

      14 months ago from Greenwood, Indiana

      Kenneth, I can hear them applauding too with joy and happiness. I miss those innocent times when you sit around a fireplace or a potbelly stove and talk for hours and no one getting mad or angry with arms flexed ready to fight. There was respect then and times were sweeter back then.

      I loved your article, you did a wonderful job!

      Have a blessed day,

      Donna Rayne

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