Cast Iron Ranges

Open cast iron ranges first appeared near the end of the 17th century but it was only in the 1750s that castings became cheaper.

The range, combining an oven and grate, appeared later in the 17th century and the developments that were to dominate range design for the 19th century were in place in by 1820 and the early Victorian period.

The main change was the introduction of the 'closed' range or 'kitchener', largely boxing in the grate where the fire burned. This development, urged by Count Rumford, brought greater fuel efficiency and cleaner kitchens. However oven roasting was less effective than spit roasting over an open grate.

  • open range
    open range; note the bars above the range for suspending meat and utensils
  • small closed range
    small, closed range
  • closed range
    closed range

The grate was polished to a dull sheen using black lead. This was applied very sparingly and then polished vigorously. An alternative was a thin coat of matt black paint, a coating of wax, and then polished.

Although ranges were used to heat water, water used in the scullery was usually heated in a copper.

Gas and electric cookers made little impact until after the Edwardian era and First World War.

For companies selling ranges, see the Products and Services Directory.