COLLECTION: Mechanical Arts & Arms

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Warming machine

Origin: England, London
Overall: 224.8 x 89.2 x 55.1cm (88 1/2 x 35 1/8 x 21 11/16in.)
Long term loan from the Commonwealth of Virginia
Acc. No. 1933-503 (L)
A cast iron stove or warming machine of monumental scale, marked "Buzaglo" for its London designer and maker, Abraham Buzaglo, and dated "1770." Supported by four decorated columnar legs on blocked feet, the graduated, three-tier apparatus consists of twelve rectangular plates, all with profuse rococo and neoclassical ornamentation. The arms of the colony of Virginia are among the cast-in elements.
Label:Lord Botetourt, the royal governor of Virginia, ordered this cast-iron stove from London in 1770 to heat the hall of the House of Burgesses at the Capitol in Williamsburg. The device was decorated with fashionable ornament and symbolic imagery appropriate to its use. A notice in a London newspaper described the stove as "one of the most elegant warming machines...that ever was seen in this or any other kingdom."

The stove was taken to Richmond in 1780 when the seat of the new commonwealth's government moved there. It was used in the Richmond Capitol for some years, and was on display there as a historic artifact by the time of the Civil War. With the reconstruction of the colonial capitol in Williamsburg, the stove was placed on long-term loan to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in 1933.
Provenance:Commonwealth of Virginia