The cooking range

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The cooking range does not stand against a wall, as was usually the case in the mansions of the period; instead, like the ovens in large restaurants, it was placed in the middle of the room. Although this was a far more sensible and practical arrangement for the cooks, it meant that the smoke could not be evacuated through a pipe in the wall, but was directed under the floor, reemerging through a large duct on the façade of the adjacent room.

Combustion gases were produced by two small fireboxes placed symmetrically, as if two similar stoves (designed like those that stand against a wall) were positioned back to back. The firebox gases communicated their heat to the ovens on either side. Partially cooled, the gases passed through a thermal chamber before going underground. The temperature in the thermal chambers was controlled by shutters that could be opened from the outside to reduce the number of heated surfaces. Likewise, the temperature of the hot plates on the stove varied according to their distance from the firebox. Concentric rings over the firebox could be removed to add coal or put a utensil directly onto the heat source.

The stove bears the date 1912 and the brand name “Cubain.” It featured in the company’s catalogue as a basic model for a mansion or château. It is made of blue sheet metal and polished steel, with brick walls around the firebox to spread the heat more evenly and help preserve the metal parts.

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