Home Comfort Stove Circa 1864
When this stove came into our store, the thing we noticed most was it’s weight! Wow – is it heavy! That weight is a great indicator of the quality of metal used to build this stove and oven. Labeled 1864, we were very curious about the history of this stove, and we were not disappointed. Like so many antiques, it tells an American Dream Story; three brothers creating a successful business thru innovation and hard work.
Labeled Home Comfort, this was the name of a line of stoves built by the Wrought Iron Range Company in St. Louis, MO (WIRCO). In our research we discovered that WIRCO was founded by three brothers, Henry Harrison Culver and two additional brothers, of whom we couldn’t find their first names. The three Culver brothers started in the stove business together, they were all traveling salesman marketing stoves to farmers starting in 1864. (Can you think about that for a minute – they actually carried (pulled by horses, we are assuming) these stoves from farm to farm hoping to make a sale!) After leaving the business due to poor quality of the stoves they were selling, they tried a few other business ventures before settling in St. Louis and starting the Wrought Iron Range Company in 1881. The innovation in their stoves was the use of wrought iron instead of cast iron. With the exception of Henry Harrison, who retired in 1883 after a severe stroke, the Culver brothers continued to own and run WIRCO, which became a successful wood and coal-fired stove business thru the 1930’s.
So, that explains the weight! Wrought Iron is exceptionally heavy and durable, so we aren’t surprised by the weight or condition of this stove. We are still a little confused by the date of 1864 since our research indicates the Home Comfort line of stoves were not produced until 1881, however, we believe it is a nod to the brothers first start in the stove business, hauling those poor quality, competitor stoves from farm to farm. Amazing perseverance – kinda like the stove.