Kemencék: Beautiful Hungarian Home Furnaces

Categories: Homes / Dwellings

Oven stoves are greener, more efficient, healthier, safer and cosier than all modern heating systems. Why are they gone and how do we get them back?

An oven stove is a very efficient and robust oven that radiates heat all day. In the US it was introduced only 20 years ago, but in Europe the technology is almost one thousand years old. Especially in Russia, Scandinavia and Central Europe the oven stove has a long and rich tradition.

In the 18th century, several European governments financed research to improve the technology, as a way to overcome an acute shortage of firewood: ecotech before the term existed. However, its further development and distribution was thwarted by the arrival of coal, gas and oil. Oven stoves are large, heavy and slow, but they offer so many advantages that they – again - deserve to be subsidized by the government.

Most people think that the metal stove was the successor of the campfire and the fireplace, and if you only look at the US, that is true. In the New World, there was never a shortage of firewood and therefore no incentive to improve the inefficient fireplace. But in Europe and Northern-Asia, there was an important and succesful link between the fireplace and the metal stove.

It is known as the Russian, Austrian, Finnish, Swedish or German stove, or as “kakelugn” (in Sweden), “pechka” (in Russia), “kachelöfen” or “steinöfen” (in Germany and Austria), and as “tulikivi” (in Finland).

More general terms are tile oven, brick oven, ceramic stove, tiled stove, soapstone heater or masonry heater. The technology is more closely related to a traditional oven than to a metal stove – therefore the German term “kachelöfen” (oven stove) describes it best as an umbrella term.

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