Hearth Ovens

Fig. I. Hearth Ovens. Black Bird roaster and Apple Roaster.

Excerpted from The Chronicle Vol. 14 No. 4, December 1961

by Ruth Lessey

TIN ovens were legion during the days of fireplace cooking. They were of many types and many sizes from the large tin kitchen with its turn-spit that took care of the large joints and fowls to the small roasting ovens such as these shown here. The latter, figure 1, I have added to my collection recently and have not seen elsewhere. Both are native of Pennsylvania.

Fig. 2. Apple Roaster.

Figure 2. This small oven 10″x10o”x14″, is similar to Mary Earle Gould’s Apple Roaster featured in her book Antique Tin & Tole Ware, plate 16, page 17, and I have roasted apples in it very successfully. However, the two rows of holes through the curved upper shelf and the spout at the end of the bottom shelf for pouring off juices or fats suggest that it was made for small meats such as chops, kidneys and sausages.

Fig. 3. Black Bird Roaster.

Figure 3 & 4. This is a Black Bird roaster, a very popular dish at one time both in England and in this country, but surely it was used for other small birds and meats as well as for biscuits and corn bread. This oven is 10″x11″x7”deep, has a removable center shelf with 4 long slits, a removable tray in the bottom and 3 hooks fastened through the top to hang the birds or meat on.

Fig 4. Black Bird Roaster showing parts.

The date of the two ovens could be anywhere in the 19th century and lucky was the housewife that owned one of them.