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Thu, Apr 21


HSMC Visitor's Center Auditorium

In-Person Lecture: Brick Cooking Stoves in the American Colonies

Jennifer Ogborne, HSMC Curator of Collections, is presenting on Potagers, Morellos, and Stew Holes: Brick Cooking Stoves in the American Colonies and Early United States.

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In-Person Lecture: Brick Cooking Stoves in the American Colonies
In-Person Lecture: Brick Cooking Stoves in the American Colonies

Time & Location

Apr 21, 2022, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

HSMC Visitor's Center Auditorium, 18751 Hogaboom Ln, Lexington Park, MD 20653, USA

About The Event

In the late 1980s, archaeologists working at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest plantation found a complete cast iron grate in the remains of the early nineteenth-century kitchen. This grate was once a part of a brick cooking stove utilized by enslaved cook Hannah to prepare meals for Jefferson’s family when they stayed at the house in Bedford, Virginia. This style of the raised cooking surface was not unique to Poplar Forest or Jefferson, but they were rare in the early nineteenth century. Raised cooking surfaces have been in use for centuries in many cultures around the world. One of the earliest depictions of this type of masonry stove occurred in Bartolomeo Scappi’s Opera dell’arte del cucinare (1570). The illustrations within depict stoves almost identical to Jefferson’s version which Scappi called morello per pignatte. In France, they were called potagers and became integral to French cuisine with its delicate sauces that required more precise temperature control than a hearth would allow. By the eighteenth-century masonry structures with “stew holes” were depicted in English architectural plan books for both mansions and more modestly sized houses. Variations of the brick stove were constructed in the American colonies in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries. This talk will explore the potential origins of masonry stoves in Europe, their various permutations, and how they were utilized in the American colonies and early republic. Free event, open to the public. Join us! Addiontal information can be found at

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