High tech from the 1700s

A while back, I read an article in Ceramics Monthly about ‘kacheloffens‘, or tile stoves. The idea intrigued me of having a large massive wood stove that used the fuel to heat up the tiles and slowly release it back into the room. This is accomplished by burning very hot, and using a long fule/chimney that winds back and forth through the oven so that most of the heat from the fire and smoke is absorbed by the brick and tile. 

Then a few days ago, I ran into another article on Low Tech Magazine about the same thing. Apparently developed in Europe due to shortages of firewood, they are very efficient, more so than the metal stoves known here in the US. Metal heat up quickly, but cools just as fast, requiring continuous tending. The tile stove is only lit once or twice a day, burns very fast, hot and more completely, with less fuel, and slowly heats with a more moderate warmth all day or night.
Is there anyone out there using one of these 18th century marvels? 

3 thoughts on “High tech from the 1700s

  1. Michael Kline

    Hey Brian, a friend of mine once gave me some info on a ceramic heater that was/is popular in eastern Europe. He thought I might be interested in making the tile parts. I’m not so sure I am thinking of the same design as you’re describing here, but I know that Tom knows more about heaters than most. He travels around the world building these and would probably be happy to answer your questions. Here is his info.

  2. Brian

    Thanks Michael! I’ll add this to my info file.
    I’m keeping an ever expanding file of things I want to design into our ‘dream home’ of the future, and this is one of them, along with solar power, geothermal heat pumps, greywater recycling, etc.

  3. jimgottuso

    i don't use one but i can see in the not so distant future that devices like this will surely make a comeback, maybe i should get an early start


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