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Arlington Stove Works

Arlington Stove Works

Arlington Stove Works

From the Wheeling Intelligencer, January 11, 1874.


The Arlington Stove Works.

By our Old Employe.

The business of this establishment is carried on by the firm of Joseph Bell & Co. The companyconsists of Joseph Bell, David Bell and Charles H. Senseny. The senior partnerof the firm is one of the few men of his age, born and raised in Wheeling underthe old regime who grew to manhood free from the tenets that weregenerally ingrained in the very nature of those to whom an all-wise Providencevouchsafed the privilege of being Indigenous to the sacred soil of the OldDominion. From his early youth his life has been spent in and about businessconnected with the manufacturing interests of Wheeling. His long experience inthe iron business fully prepared him for the enterprise undertaken in 1863,with a view of building up a reputation for Wheeling stoves. This he realizedcould only be done by making their manufacture an exclusive specialty. In 1863,then, in connection with Robert Campbell, he purchased the old Eagle Foundry,located on the corner of Main and 4th streets, North Wheeling, whichhad formerly done a general foundry business. The value of that property andits business may be measured correctly by the price paid for it, to wit: eightthousand dollars, which sum paid for the foundry building, the lots belongthereto, together with the patterns and other equipments, and all themanufactured and other stock on hands. At that time the leading patterns werethe West Virginia, the Tropic, the Pluto and Defiance stoves.

Mr. Campbells health failing him, he soon withdrew from the business, and it has since been conducted underthe title of Joseph Bell & Co. These gentlemen immediately set aboutenlarging the capacity of their works.

The cook stove is the great conservator of the health, and comfort and in a great measure also, of the veryhappiness of the household. It should be deservedly one of the most ornamentalpieces of furniture. The Company realized its status and the importance of itsresponsible duties being properly performed. They have spared no pains, norstudy, nor expense to bring it to that degree of perfection which itsimportance demands. That their efforts have been properly appreciated isevidenced by the rapid growth of their business, which has grown to more thanten times its original proportions. Having adopted the name, Arlington, alltheir stoves are classified under that title. Their extensive sale of theArlington Cook Stove in all sections of the country sufficiently attests itpopularity and its merit. Its symmetrical proportions give it an elegantappearance unsurpassed by any other stove, while in the performance of itsduties it is without a superior. In August last by a disastrous fire thecompany suffered the loss of a large proportion of their works, with many oftheir patterns. The disaster seems, however, to have only widened the field oftheir activity. New and more various patterns have been obtained and the workshave been rebuilt on a vastly extended scale. They commenced business on onesmall moulding floor, now it covers an area of twelve thousand square feet.From three or four stoves per day in the beginning, their daily product nownumbers fifty stoves. Their largest building extends back to West street and isfour stories high, and their entire buildings cover five full city lots. Alarge portion of this extension is devoted to the fitting, and the labor of alarge proportion of their employes is engaged on this particular branch of thebusiness. In the early days of the stove manufacture, and in fact until withinthe last few years, the proper fitting of stoves together was a matter thatreceived but little attention. Here and there a dab with a cold chisel, or alittle touch with a file, and the stove went together very much as it came outof the sand. Now, every uneven spot is brought to perfect line upon grindstonesor emery wheels. Owing to the special attention given this department, it hasbecome possible to make stoves light yet solid and strong. All this beauty andthis perfection of convenience has been of slow growth. The neatness, order andcomfort which make the kitchen of the thrifty housewife her special pride, andeven commends it to the admiration of her worthy spouse, is the result of longand careful study. Men, with all the selfishness attributed to them by thestrong-minded, have in a most practical manner acknowledged the rights of theweaker sex to all the facilities best calculated to lighten their share of thepartnership duties of married life.

Those who now enjoy the fullness of this greatest of modern household conveniences, have littleknowledge of the [ film scratched ... ] with the culinary department in anera that is yet within the memory of some of our oldest citizens. Perhaps itmay add to their appreciation of it to go back a little in the history of itsprogress. In the day of small things when the foundry business was carried onby Neel & Allen and by Mr. Cooper and by Cuthbert & Co. and by the lateThos. Pollock, it would have been an impossibility to manufacture such stovesas we have now. In that day iron was melted in the primitive air furnace, themodern cupola with its powerful machine blast was unknown. One can scarcelybelieve that within the memory of living persons the very existence of coal inthe hills around this city was unknown, or if known, it was to but few.

Wood was the only fuel used both for heating and cooking purposes, and the kitchen fire place was nearly ofthe dimensions of a small bedroom. The great brick oven and the iron Dutch ovenwere the perfect arrangements of that day for baking and roasting, and theyroasted the cooks almost as much as the meats. Any of our modern cooks who areobliged temporarily to cook on a grate, regard that institution as an inventionof the evil one. What then must have been its power to destroy the peace andhappiness of our tidy grandmothers who were compelled to use it for a longtime, for the ever increasing scarcity of wood admitted of nothing else. Everywant stimulates invention to supply it, and the first step toward the moderncook stove was a sort of iron oven placed at the end of the grate. For sometime a sickly sort of happiness was afforded by that improvement, but we maysay that even such meager comfort was lost in the first stoves that came intouse. These early specimens were not much either for beauty or utility, theywere ill looking and more illy constructed, small in size and great inimperfections. Some of them smoked and gave the kitchen the appearance of alampblack factory; others would not bake, and they all burned too much coal.These imperfections were not surprising when we reflect that the stoves weremade in the same establishment and by the same workmen who moulded plough points,wagon boxes, dog irons and all the odds and ends of iron mongery, usually madein such establishments. All perfection comes by means of specialities, and tothe fact that Joseph Bell & Co. have given their exclusive attention to thestove business, is Wheeling largely indebted for her favorable reputation inthis line, and we, for the Arlington Stoves.

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