Somerset, UK – The stoneware or earthenware mystery objects from Paul Busby and Glastonbury Rec turn out to have been a kind of gas heater or ‘gas stove’ as the 1870s Victorian would have called them.
Glastonbury Rec’s version, registered design number 274805 in 1873, was identified at the Public Record Office at Kew as a design by George Skey of Wilnecote Works near Tamworth, a maker of pottery – domestic, decorative and utilitarian.
Although the design was an original, the concept of this type of gas stove seems to have been invented a few years earlier, shortly after the advent of gas lighting in houses in the 1860s, but before the invention of the traditional flued gas fires which were installed into fireplace openings in the 1880s. Between these dates it must have been realised that gas lamps gave off heat, but did not require much by the way of a flue for venting of the ‘vitiated’ air.
Various forms of gas stove were tried, most of them cylindrical and freestanding. Some were made from iron, or iron and firebrick, but these seemed less effective than the pottery ones.
Gas stoves may have been used in box pews in churches, possible small conservatories or glasshouses, shops, warehouses, offices and houses. There is no description of the type of burner used, but a gas ring or annular jets would seem likely.
George Skey’s pottery operated from Wilnecote Works from 1862 until it was taken over by Doulton in the 1930s and production concentrated on insulators. By 1968 it was producing large porcelain high-voltage weather shields. It closed in the 1970s, was demolished in 1981, and is now a housing estate.
After he was told Simon Evans at Glastonbury Rec said that he thought it was a gas stove all along and he has no plans to sell it.
SOURCE 4 U Ltd