National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Jamb Stove Jamb Stove
Rendered by Roy Weber (artist), c. 1938
graphite and colored pencil on paperboard
overall: 46.5 x 37.9 cm (18 5/16 x 14 15/16 in.) Original IAD Object: 22" high; 19 1/2" wide; 23" long
Index of American Design
1943.8.17018
Not on View
From the Tour: Pennsylvania German Folk Art from the Index of American Design
Object 9 of 23

The five-plate, or jamb, stove was introduced by German immigrants in the early nineteenth century. Set into the wall and fired from the fireplace of an adjoining room, these stoves used fuel more efficiently than open fireplaces and provided greater warmth for the whole room. Because Pennsylvania had rich iron ore deposits, pig iron was readily available. Iron plantations established great furnaces and cast pots, kettles, and other household utensils, as well as the iron stoveplates. Stoveplates were cast in sand molds. Carved wooden designs were pressed into sand so that a relief pattern remained. Molten iron was then poured into the sand mold and allowed to cool. Common stoveplate motifs were the flowers, birds, and scrolls of Pennsylvania German tradition, as well as biblical scenes or scenes with a moral lesson. This stove is dated 1749. The front plate shows Death in the form of a horned skeleton wielding a stick against the protests of a mortal. From behind, a friend is trying to aid the unfortunate victim.

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