Illustration of Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Stove, published in An Account of the New Invented Pennsylvanian Fire-Places, Philadelphia, PA, 1744.
flipFlip to David Rittenhouse, by Charles Willson Peale, 1796.
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Illustration of stove plates

Credit: Courtesy of American Memory, Library of Congress

Searching for a way to reduce smoke and maximize heat, Benjamin Franklin in the early 1740s invented a wood-burning, cast-iron furnace-box that he called the "Pennsylvanian Stove" now known as the "Franklin Stove." Most of Franklin's inventions, including bifocals, sprang from a desire to improve his own quality of life. Rather than patent any of his inventions, he made them available freely, for the common good. Franklin's stove became so popular in England and Europe that the essay in which this illustration appeared was frequently reprinted and translated into several foreign languages.

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