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Tile Stove

Gottfried Aust or Rudolph Christ Shop
Place Made:
Salem North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
slip-decorated earthenware
HOA 49″; WOA 35″; DOA 16 1/2″
Accession Number:
Sometimes referred to as “ovens” even though they were not used for cooking, tile stoves similar to this one were made for many buildings in Wachovia including private homes. This example is constructed of original and reproduction tiles.

Tile stove formed from a cornice, intermediary and base molding with squared tile decorated with a rosette in the center and fleur-de-lis on each corner, standing on a wooden platform supported by four square molded ceramic legs. The fire box is reached thru an iron door at one end. The whole stove is “decorated with underglaze sponging and painting of copper and manganese over white slip.” (Bivins p.20) This pattern is called the “patera shell” pattern.

Gottfried Aust was the master potter in both Bethabara (1755-1771) and Salem from 1771-1788. He is responsible for training some of the best potters in Salem. Aust was an accomplished potter who had the ability to maintain both quality and quanity in his shop (a rarity at this particular time). His work was innovative and unique by design.

“Memorabilia, or annual diary of outurned affairs, 1756 – [Br. Aust burned stove tiles, and when they were ready he set up stoves in the Gemein Haus and the Brothers House, probably the first in Carolina.] “It is evident that tile stoves were not common anywhere in American during this period;…Obviously, the tile stove was a far more efficient heating device than an open fire, because of its large radiant area,…Another obvious advantage of the ceramic stove was that each room of a house did not require a fireplace because the stoves used a sheet-iron stove-pipe which could be routed through the walls, greatly saving on the amount of brick masonry needed in the construction of a building.” (Bivins p.20))

Credit Line:
Wachovia Historical Society Collection