Friday, November 25, 2022

Monarch Brochure from 1980

Occasionally, I find some very interesting things on Ebay, and this little brochure from the Monarch division of the Malleable Iron Range Company is one of them.

I have a special affinity for Monarch ranges.  When I was growing up, the Monarch range that had belonged to my great-great grandparents on my mother's side rested comfortably in the dilapidated summer kitchen on the original home place.  It had been my great-great aunt Meme's last woodburning range before she moved off the farm to her home on Grace Street in Council Bluffs, and it had been my grandma Marian's first range after getting married in 1947.  

Both Meme and Grandma Marian sang the praises of that large cookstove, which had reigned supreme in the spacious kitchen of the original home place.  Fortunately, it had been moved out of the house into the summer kitchen a few years before the house burned to the ground from an electrical fire.  Whenever we were at "the other place" to work cattle or cut thistles or simply have a picnic, I would go in and visit that old range.

When I was about five years old, I drew up plans in red crayon to have a summer kitchen built between the two houses here on our farm using four old cedar trees as the corner posts.  I wanted to move that Monarch range over here and put it to use.  I distinctly remember having Granny come and look over the plans--even at that age I knew that if anything was going to get done on our place, Granny was the one who would spearhead the operation.  She listened with that feigned interest that we give children who amuse us, but I could tell at the end of the conversation that no summer kitchen was in the foreseeable future.

During my high school days, I was certain that I would be putting that range back into service someday, so I purchased a can of stove black and coated it well in order to protect it as much as I could.  Though I would guess it to be about seventy years old at that point, it was in pristine condition except for surface rust and a temperamental oven cleanout door.

Well, when I was in my freshman year at Iowa State University, someone--actually a group of someones, I'm sure--absconded with that precious stove.  I've kept my eyes peeled for it ever since, but Grandma and Grandpa were told at the time they filed a report with the county sheriff's department that it had been very likely shipped to Colorado since that was the hot spot for antiques during that time.

Monarchs seem to have been a particular favorite among our family members.  The last kitchen stove my great-grandma Ruth (the daughter-in-law and next door neighbor of the aforementioned great-great grandmother) had on the farm before moving to Council Bluffs was a Monarch combination stove with a woodburning left side and an electric right side.  That stove still rests in the basement of my Grandma Marian's house.  On the other side of the family, my great-great aunt Donald's Edna Klopping had an electric Monarch range purchased in the 1940s and used until the 1960s.  It was the 40" deluxe model that had an electric roaster built into the right side of the cooktop.  I actually think that it was Auntie Edna's first electric range, and I know she liked that stove very much.

Even the last woodburning range that was in our farmhouse before I put the Qualified range in was a Monarch.  Its remains still haunt the banks of our creek where my grandparents deposited it sometime in the late 1950s or 60s.

As I said earlier, Monarch was a division of the Malleable Iron Range Company of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.  Much information about them is available online, but two important details stick out: a) the company was in business from 1896 to 1985 and b) Monarch ranges "were recognized as being [of] much better quality and easier to use than the typical range."  Perhaps Meme and Grandma knew what they were talking about when they bragged about that old Monarch!

The brochure was sold on Ebay as having been published in 1980, but I am unable to find a dated printed on it anywhere.  From the pictures, I would say that 1980 is believable, but if that isn't accurate, I would put it slightly earlier.  There were many pictures of the woodburning heating stoves and furnaces they sold as well, but I only included the pictures that had to do with cooking appliances.  (As I always say, if it doesn't have an oven, I'm not interested.)

The cover of the brochure.

The first picture of a range is the later version of the
combination stove that my great-grandmother had
in the late 1930s.

The gas version of the same stove.

The wood/coal range that they were manufacturing at
that time.

The dual-fuel range that Monarch made for many, many
years. This stove went through many different iterations
over the nearly forty years that it was manufactured.  This
was truly a dual-fuel range in that you could cook on the 
surface with heat from a wood or coal fire or with electricity.
The single oven was heated with either the wood or coal fire
or electricity or a combination of both.  If your wood fire
wasn't hot enough to heat the oven to baking temperature, 
you could supplement that heat with electricity.

Information about the woodburning firebox, clearances,
and the waterfront to heat running water.

I've not personally seen any of the ranges advertised in this brochure up close, but the earlier versions of these stoves were high quality appliances with a high standard of fit and finish.  If any of you readers have had or are currently using any of the ranges pictured in this post, please fill the comments section with your opinions about them and whatever other information you can share.

1 comment:

  1. Jim,

    Interesting material.

    I have seen a few "hybrid" stoves for sale in the past. It never occurred to me, though, that one largely loses the range of cooking-surface temperatures we get on our "pure" wood-fired cookstoves. I guess it is a matter of gaining something (electric- or gas-fueled burners) while losing that varying temperature feature. Each individual would have to make that call for himself.

    Thank you for this interesting information!