After the initial
years of breaking land and finally
building a proper "home", Onoway's pioneers
lived in relative luxury.
One of their first investments was a
wood-burning stove – a huge, heavy monster
that was front and centre of the country home
and the main piece of furniture. Where
did it come from? Ordered from Eatons
catalogue? Purchased from the store at
the closest village?
The stove had two
functions: to prepare meals and to keep
the house warm. It might have been the only
heat source in the home although there
was often a small heater in another room.
design of stoves varied, the cast iron stove
top was ideal for cooking (as long as you
didn't make the mistake of touching
it) since, once heated, that heat held on for
a long while. The section at the
left was above the firebox filled with burning
wood so it was very hot while,
further over to the right side, the heat might
have toned down to "low"
or even "simmer". The heat in the oven, to the
right of the firebox,
could be controlled by the size of the fire
and type of wood (dry vs. green)
although the door may have been left open to
release some of the heat.
On the right side
of the stove was the reservoir, a water
tank where there was always warm/hot water to
wash dishes, or put a dipper-full
in the washbasin to wash your hands after
coming in from doing chores.
stovetop was a warming closet, a handy place
the bread rise.
In order for the
stove to operate efficiently and be safe, a
system of "dampers" was designed on the side
of the firebox to draw
in (or restrict) air and force heat and smoke
up and out the stove pipe.
By the 1940s
appearance was as important as function so
decorative enamel panels covered parts of the
stove. These were also much
easier to clean than heavy iron.
Keeping the house
warm through the winter meant that a
supply of wood had to be ready by snowfall.
Trees were chopped down, split and
cut in just the right size pieces. These were
then stacked neatly in woodpiles
near the house. One of the daily chores was to
bring in enough wood to fill the
woodbox near the stove.
The heat that was
welcome in winter became a problem in
summer so meals requiring heat, or baking a
batch of bread, meant that the
kitchen door was kept open. Often families had
a small cookstove in a shed to
solve this heat problem.
Variants of cast
iron cookstoves were common around Onoway
but one stove in the Onoway Museum, although
older, was much more costly and
Microwaves, glass/ceramic cooktops, gas or
electric heat supply, convection ovens - so
stove - This stove was
purchased in 1941for
$45.00 cash from Eaton's in
Edmonton then shipped by
then brought to the
farm by a team of horses.
stove – This expensive
stove was built in the 1920s
and was way ahead of its time
for this area. The fine
ceramic top is
to expose the wood-gas combo -
– 4 gas burners beside
the wood-burning unit.