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Stove Plate (front panel)

Origin: Pennsylvania, York County
Overall: 24 x 20 1/2 x 1 1/2in. (61 x 52.1 x 3.8cm)
Cast iron
Partial Gift, Charles W. and Susan G. Bousliman and Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2010-46,2
A cast iron stove plate front of classic Pennsylvania-Dutch design, with heavily molded sides and lightly molded top and bottom edges. Decorated with an arcade of twin arches supported by two twisted columns and a radiant heart at the center. Religious and symbolic devices fill the spaces between the columns and include tulips growing from baluster shaped pots, eight pointed stars, and lozenges. Below the arcade is a panel reading MARY . ANN . FURNACE over a shaped panel, flanked by tulips emanating from hearts, and bearing the date 1762 interspersed with lozenges.
Label:Taking the form of a large iron box projecting from an interior wall into a room, the "five plate" or "jamb" stove brought much warmth into the homes of many Pennsylvanians in the 18th century. In an effort to make these devices more attractive, the furnaces which produced them created decorative patterns to cast the most visible panels, or plates, from.

Cast in 1762 at the Mary Ann Furnace in York County, Colonial Williamsburg's three-piece set represents the ornamental portions of a stove produced early in the history of that venture. The plates are decorated en suite, and are of classic Pennsylvania-Dutch design. Motifs cast into them include arcades with twisted columns and religious and symbolic devices like radiant hearts, tulips, stars, and lozanges.

The principals of the Mary Ann Furnace were George Ross, George Stevenson and William Thompson, a veritable who's-who of Pennsylvania leadership. While Ross signed the Declaration of Independence on behalf of the Province, Stevenson was one of the first lawyers in York County, and William Thompson served as a Brigadier General in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.