Chief Doe-Wah-Jack’s pride and joy

Comedians Bob and Ray had a regular schtick involving a radio advertisement for Monongahela steel ingots as home décor. You know, “Hey, ladies, are yours getting rusty,” sort of spiel. Usually, it was sitting in the living room.

Having lived in the Rust Belt not far from the Monongahela River, I knew about the massive pig-iron ingots riding flatbed trailers from one part of town to another. Who knows how much they weighed – the trucks carried no more than two at a time – the beasts looked deadly foreboding.

Our equivalent was in the kitchen, though better dressed and somewhat smaller.

The Classic Round Oak Chief was a top-of-the-line cooking stove that ran on firewood, coal, or kerosene. After 1898, they were manufactured by the “estate of P.D. Beckwith” of Dowagiac, Michigan, and featured a popular mascot, fictional Native American Chief Doe-Wah-Jack – a sly way of teaching the pronunciation of the town. They’re highly collectible in restored condition, but that means getting to a buyer in some other part of the country.

I’ve used wood cooking stoves, back in the ashram, but I wasn’t so sure about this one. I didn’t like the way the stovepipe ran somewhat downhill – smoke rises, after all – or the way it vented into the same chimney the furnace uses, something that’s against building code today.

Besides, the weight of this one was definitely stressing the house structure.

Worse yet, it occupied the center of the small kitchen, and in our life focus, we need more space there – as well as a working oven, year-‘round.

Quite simply, it had to go. And it did.

We’re happy it found a new home – one being built, as it turned out – as well as a crew that knew expertly how to get it apart and out the door.

As for wood heat, which we truly enjoy, we’re planning on a Jotul in the front parlor and a new chimney or pipe to vent it.

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