Friday, May 31, 2013

An eBay Find

I continually troll about on eBay looking at the woodburning cookstoves that are for sale there, and I ran across a surprise the other day: the exact same model cookstove that Nancy's grandparents started keeping house with when they were first married in 1938.  Rue and Ruth purchased this stove with some of the money that Ruth had saved from her four years as a country school teacher.  They purchased this stove from Montgomery Ward's, and it was their sole means of cooking until sometime in the early 1950s.

The same model stove as Rue and Ruth's for sale
on eBay.
Rue and Ruth's stove is now in our possession.  It is not in quite as good a shape as the one in the picture, but I think it is more complete because the handle on the front left door is still connected.  We hope to have it restored someday.

The stove in the picture can be seen here.  The eBay description says that it was still in regular use this year.  Pretty good record, I'd say.

I want to transfer the other pictures to this blog post to keep as a record.


  1. It's amazing that the stove is still in working condition and Montgomery Wards isn't. What a shame that so many American businesses have gone bankrupt, been bought out or jobs outsourced. I read the other day that China was in the process of buying out Smithfield Foods. Wondering what the next twenty to fifty years will look like for our country.

  2. Hi Jim, Thank you for your blog! My husband and I have an old white enamel Ward's cook stove probably from the 30's called a Record Range. It was used as the main cooking source for the family that lived in our house before we moved in 20 years ago. We have never used it except to store and display things. It has an oven, a 4 burner cooktop and to the left of it is a chamber for fueling with wood or kerosene. It was converted to kerosene probably in the 40's. We want to un-convert it from kerosene back to wood. That way we have an additional heat source in the winter. I guess that it's just a matter of unscrewing the kerosene parts, plugging holes, etc.. It already has a stovepipe which vents to the chimney. Have you ever heard of anyone converting a kerosene stove back to wood?

    1. Dear Gwen,
      Thanks for visiting my blog!
      I have not heard of anyone converting from kerosene back to wood, so I'm not speaking with any expertise, but I have some general reservations/advice to share.

      1) I have not seen any kerosene conversions in person, but the ones that I have seen online cause me to be concerned about converting back to burning wood because the process of converting to kerosene usually involved putting some holes in the range in places that I would be nervous about having holes, plugged or otherwise.

      2) My limited exposure to stoves from Ward's or Sears causes me to be a little concerned about the fire-worthiness of one of their older ranges. The stoves from these companies were generally more affordable than the other brands such as Home Comfort or Monarch, and there was a reason for that. Inspect the stove carefully. Gaps and cracks which would not concern me if I were using the kerosene conversion could be very dangerous when using wood as a fuel.

      3) Please have your chimney examined carefully. It may need maintenance (or replacement) that would need to be done by a professional. Venting a kerosene burning appliance through an old chimney would be similar to venting a gas appliance. In other words, you'd probably be all right in most circumstances. Fires using solid fuel are a totally different animal and need a safer flue--same with stovepipe.

      I don't mean to throw a wet blanket on your idea of having a wood cookstove because you can tell that I'm very enthusiastic about cooking over wood. Just be cautious!

      I would probably endeavor to contact an antique wood stove restorer. He or she would be able to help you remain safe and realize your dreams. The only one that I have met personally is Ed Semmelroth from Tekonsha, Michigan. His website is He does beautiful work and would be able to help you.

  3. Enjoyed reading about your family stove. You'll find the same stove in Laura Ingalls Wilder's kitchen at Mansfield, MO. We have one of the siblings too in our kitchen. It was new in 28 but still sees regular use. As for Ward's . We used to get everything from them, even getting tires in the mail. Most folks don't know but there's still a Ward's catalog at:

    1. Welcome to my blog, oldtimeway1! And thanks for the heads up about Montgomery Ward's website. Good to know.

  4. We just installed this exact stove into our home today. Would you, by chance, know where replacement parts can be found for this stove? It could use a new ash pan and it needs a handle for the oven.

    1. Welcome to my blog, AnnieJo!

      I'm sorry that I can't be of better service to you. I don't know for certain where (or even whether) you'll be able to find parts for this model stove. You may have read my Sept. 2017 post about visiting Mill Creek Antiques. While there, I spoke with Steve, the proprietor and stove restorer, about restoring the one we have. He said that restoring "late model stoves like that" can be really challenging. You could certainly try calling Mill Creek, though. I'd also suggest putting a call in to Ed Semmelroth of since I've seen that he has restored some stoves like this which he calls "utility stoves." You may also give Lehman Hardware in Kidron, Ohio a call. They used to carry a very wide line of replacement parts, but I don't know if they still do.

      I would also suggest finding a local metal working shop. They may be your best and most economical resource to simply make a new ash pan and oven door handle.

      Wish I could be of better service!

      Once you've used your stove a few times, would you do me the honor of sending me some pictures and answering a few questions about it? I'd love to write a Readers' Cookstove post about your stove. My e-mail address is


  5. I just got a stove like yours but in pretty bad conditions, I live by the border of Mexico, I love antiques and here still have some.
    I would like to know how to use it, I wil try to do what we call "frijoles de la olla" baked beans with onion and garlic, them a special flavor.
    I like your blog it was a very good idea.

    1. Welcome to my blog, Gabriel!

      Best wishes for you as you learn to use your stove. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. We'll do what we can to help you!