Female Classical Figure Dumb Stove

Alonzo Blanchard (1799-1864), Albany, NY
Date: c. 1843
Maker: Alonzo Blanchard (1799-1864), Albany, NY
Dimensions: 48 3/4 H x 14 W x 9 D
Materials: Cast iron
Credit: Albany Institute of History & Art Purchase, Rockwell Fund
Accession Number: 1992.8

During the nineteenth century, Albany and Troy manufacturers were among the largest producers of cast-iron stoves in the world. The Hudson River allowed Troy and Albany to bring raw materials to the foundries and finished stoves to worldwide markets. This cast-iron figure, usually identified as Liberty or Columbia, is one of the most striking of all nineteenth-century "dumb stoves." These usually did not have a firebox, but were connected by a stovepipe to a functioning stove on a floor below. That way two rooms could be heated by one stove. The designer, Alonzo Blanchard, probably chose a figure that would represent America because the country was preoccupied at the time with symbols of national unity. These could be symbolic, such as Liberty, or real, such as George Washington.