The grates in our Qualified Range are what are called duplex grates. This style of grate was very popular on old style ranges, but is not so common on the modern woodburning range. Duplex grates consist of two, two-sided grate bars which lie horizontally on the bottom of the firebox. These two grate bars have gears called grate cogs on the front of them so that when the grate shaker is attached to the left one, both rotate about a quarter turn to shake ashes down to the ash drawer.
Truthfully, the grates from the Qualified are what I miss the most about that cookstove. While I wouldn't trade the new Margin Gem, ash removal is more difficult with its poker grate since I was used to a couple swings of the grate shaker resulting in a completely empty firebox.
The operating instructions that came with the Qualified state the following:
"If you are using wood for fuel, turn the grates so the holes are turned up, using the grate shaker provided with your unit. If you use coal as a fuel, turn the solid side of the grates up."
The Monarch Range which belonged to my great-great grandmother (which my grandparents still had in their possession until some band of reprobates stole it while I was in college) actually had a little sign on the front that said "wood" when its duplex grates were turned with the holes up and "coal" when the solid side was up. From what I have seen on the Internet, many models of the Monarch Range made in the 1920's had this feature.
|A picture of the firebox in the Qualified Range.|
This picture is taken while standing at the front of the
range, so the drafts are on the left, and the oven is
on the right. Here, the grates are in the position to
|Here the grates are turned to the coal-burning position.|
|A picture of the front door of the firebox, which|
is only accessible once the front enameled surface
door is opened.
|Here the grate shaker is attached to the grate bolt.|
The Riverside Bakewell down in the summer kitchen is equipped with duplex grates also. The solid side of them is slightly different than the solid side of the grates in the Qualified because they have small perforations to let some air up to the fire.
While I like the convenience of duplex grates because they make emptying the firebox so efficient, their main purpose was to facilitate the burning of coal. A coal fire needs to be shaken every so often so that the ash falls away from the burned edges of the coals and oxygen is permitted to get to the inner part of the coal where combustion is then taking place.
An interesting note about the Qualified Range is that the pattern for the range has actually been owned by several different companies over the years. I have seen pictures of Qualified Ranges that were manufactured in the 1920s or 1930s, and the similarities to the stove that I purchased nearly seventy years later are remarkable. My Qualified was manufactured in January of 1997. At that time Qualified Ranges were made by Hitzer Inc. in Berne, Indiana. By 2000, Hitzer had quit making the Qualified Range. I was told that Hitzer subcontracted the porcelain enamel work and were having difficulty finding a company who could get the enamel to stick to the steel well enough for their standards, and for this reason they halted production of the Qualified Range.
I have the list of repair part numbers that came with my Qualified and would be happy to share part numbers if anybody needs them. The Hitzer company is still in business and perhaps they would either carry repair parts or know where one could find them. You can find their information at this website: www.hitzer.com. As always, if anyone has any further questions, I welcome them and will do my best to answer.