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George Washington Dumb Stove

Not on view

George Washington Dumb Stove

Maker: Alonzo Blanchard (active Troy New York, 1799 - 1864)

Date: c. 1843
Medium: Cast iron
Overall: 72 x 24 x 18in. (182.9 x 61 x 45.7cm)
Credit Line: 75th Anniversary Acquisition. Gift of Burrell and Todd Fisher and the Estate of LWB Fisher.
Object number: 2011.18
Label Text
Over the course of a career, curators receive many calls from local residents who are dispersing long-time family homes. It was one of these calls that brought George Washington to the Museum galleries. This stove warmed a third-floor artist studio in a gracious and historic Little Falls, New York, home for decades, but how he came to rest there is unknown. Most likely, this stove was once used in a more pubic location such as a meeting hall. It survived in remarkable condition because it was moved to a private home.
In 1843 Albany, New York, manufacturer Alonzo Blanchard patented the design for this stove. The hot embers in the fire box at the base heated the figure of George Washington, which served as a radiator. As an art object, the stove can help to communicate many stories to Museum visitors. This depiction of George Washington is most likely based on the 1827 monument by English sculptor Francis Chantrey (1781-1841) that graces the Massachusetts State House. Like many decorative arts produced in the 1800s, the Museum’s stove references the United States’ associations with Roman antiquity and a reverence for patriotism. Washington wears typical gentlemen’s attire, but his cape drapes him in toga-like fashion.