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By November 11, 2013 Read More →

Soapstone Salesman’s Sample Stove

soapstone stoveThe nights are getting colder and thoughts are turning to winter.  Back in the 1860’s Peterborough citizens didn’t have to worry about the price of oil.  Keeping warm was a matter of having enough cordwood and a good stove.  This soapstone stove is a salesman’s sample used to show a company’s products to dealers and storekeepers.  The model measures only 12 inches high.

In the 1860’s Samuel Hudson Caldwell had a soapstone stove manufacturing plant on lower Main Street.  His business card reads, “Soap stone stoves, also dealers in all kinds of cook and parlor stoves, tin, glass, Britannia, wood and hollow ware, pumps, lead pipes, sheet lead and zinc.”

The soapstone for this salesman’s sample may have been quarried in Francestown.  Daniel Fuller discovered the first New England soapstone deposit there in 1784.  The deposit was quarried from 1801 until the 1890’s.  Soapstone is an ideal material for stoves because it is very heat resistant, holds and distributes heat evenly, and is easy to shape.

This stove, as well as other soapstone wares, are currently on exhibit in the Monadnock Center’s Monadnock Treasures exhibit. The exhibit includes artifacts from sixteen Monadnock Region communities and will be on view through November 23.