There are lots of things you can do to find out what your stove is worth, and something about its history. While it can be time consuming, and sometimes frustrating, when you find some information, it is also very rewarding.
You can check historical societies and museums near where your stove was made to see if they may have any info about the company or your particular stove. It is always good to take note of whatever is written on the stove itself, and get the dimensions, and a picture that includes the whole stove in the picture frame.
Of course, check the internet for information. There is a lot of info online about antique stoves. You can do a search on ebay or craigslist to see if someone else is selling the same stove, or do a search on a search-engine such as Google, Bing, Yahoo. There are also forums and blogs about antique stoves where people with the 'stove fever' share their interests, info and pictures, and eventually you will start to make connections which lead to information.
The value of any antique stove is largely based on its condition, age, rarity, and design. Generally speaking, the older it is, the better the condition, the more ornate, and the more rare = the more it is worth. All things considered, larger stoves are often worth more, as well.
If your stove is older than 1880, it may be difficult to find information about it, as they were generally not advertised in catalogs before then. Also, many times, the old foundries burned down, changed owners and company names frequently, and not a lot of documentation about all that was saved. So, it can be quite a puzzle! Just the same, it is possible to find out about most stoves, and just when you are ready to give up -- something will crop up about it, and you can follow the lead. In the meantime - don't give up! It is just a matter of doing your homework!
Also, when you buy an antique stove, always try to find out whatever history is known about it from the person you are buying it from. Anyone selling a stove generally has some information about where it came from, how they got it, where it's been kept, how it's been used, and for how long, etc,. and an auction house will likely have some info about the stove as well.
Researching your antique stove is an interesting process in itself, and there are lots of little details you can find out just chatting with someone, even if they have a totally different stove or stove-type preference.
We are currently offering appraisals for antique stoves, for a reasonable fee. If you are interested in an appraisal, please contact us to find out more details such as what pictures and information you would need to send.
You can also find out more tips, and what style your stove is at our page
Info and Appraisals where we include a section on 'Identifying Your Antique Stove'.
There is a lot that goes into restoring an antique wood or coal stove properly. It is a combination of specific skills, knowledge, and expertise. To be restored as close to the original condition as possible involves disassembling the the stove, cleaning the cast iron by sandblasting, re-painting with high heat stove paint, and re-sealing the stove, along with appropriate new hardware while re-assembling it. Those are the basics, and then there is the re-plating of the nickel pieces, and knowing which pieces, historically, should be re-plated or not, and also how to restore the finial appropriately.
Many times there are stove parts that are missing, broken, cracked or in poor condition and unstable. Missing parts of a particular stove are often not easy to find, while other parts, such as grates or stove lids are more readily replaceable. Some parts which may be cracked or seriously rusted or have heat damage, may need to be either welded, replaced with good parts from another exact stove, or re-cast. All of these options entail a lot of experience in knowing what needs to be done, and what the best way of restoring it would be. Welding cast iron is an art in itself, and even so, some parts of a stove that would be highly heated when in use, should probably be re-cast, instead of being welded.
Each stove has been made to function in a specific way to burn the wood or coal. That functionality determines which parts of the stove will take the most stress from heating and usage. Those are the parts which will need to be given the most attention when restoring it. So, it is important to know exactly how the stove works thermodynamically, and to make sure that each and every part is intact, in place, and working as it should be.
In addition, to be restored authentically, a knowledge of the history of the stove is needed. Many times, antique stoves have been kept for years, not used, but re-painted with regular spray paint; either all black or all silver or part of each. So, that all needs to be removed, the cast iron restored, isinglass windows replaced, and the nickel re-plated where it was originally intended to be.
Restoring an antique stove is a great thing to accomplish. It does require a lot of dedication, and respect for preserving the integrity and history of the stove.
Watch a video about the plating process by our associate, Brian Spandl.
Check out our Antique Stove blog ! See the complete restoration process of the antique stove the "King Arizona".
Ever wondered what it takes to plate metal in nickel or chrome? It is quite an interesting and complex process. Click the link above to see the 22 minute video.
We are currently accepting requests for antique stove restorations!
We have expanded our work area and are now able to accept more requests for stove restorations. If you are interested in having your antique heating stove restored, (wood or coal), please let us know and we will tell you what pictures to send, and will give you an estimate for the cost of restoration, and a shipping quote, (we would arrange shipping), if needed.
Please note: At this time, we are not accepting cook stoves for restoration. Also, we don't restore gas stoves.