This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
EXPLANATIONS. (A) Furnace Door to Fire-Box. (J?) Draft. (C) Pipe. (F) Chamber with Iron Shutter (hinged) to let out heat. This; Chamber has doors on both sides of Furnace.
(G) Oven or cooking place on Kitchen side of Furnace.
(A) Furnace Door to Fire-Box.
(B) Lower opening, as shown in side, and used for cooking place.
(C) Heating or upper opening on sitting room or bed room side.
It will be observed that the heated air strikes the oven, and also the reservoir of hot air both above and below, and that no particle of hot air reaches the chimney till after turning four corners. It works its passage. The iron plates, doors and shutters are such as any foundry can furnish. They are inexpensive. In a case where 1 inquired the cost, it was five dollars.
Near a score of years ago, when I first pushed west of the Missouri, my feeling was, " What a corn-and-wheat-growing capability here runs to waste ! What myriads of buffaloes, too, have been shot merely for the petty dainty of their tongues !" So now in the light of Mennonite experience, many a Yankee in Nebraska sees that he has thrown away a cooking and warming power that had millions in it. He long ago laughed at his father smothering bees in order to secure their honey - and at his neighbor who put into his stove the corn which he might have sold, the same year, for fifty cents a bushel.
END VIEW OF THE "MENNOMTE GRASS BURNER".
(A) Furnace Door to Fire-Box.
(It) Cooking place or Oven. This opening sometimes omitted.
He now laughs with the other side of his mouth at himself for burning out doors that prairie produce which, if burned in doors, would have saved him ,too, many a dollar. He who thus laughs will need no preaching to make him square his practice in the matter of cookery and house-warming according to the Mennonite plan. His faith will be stronger than ever, that the Providence which created quinine where chills prevail, as well as perfumes where negroes are most numerous, and provided buffalo-chips for the Indian in the far west, has there also furnished fuel for the civilized setttler - "grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven" - a gift which, if he makes full proof of it, will be sufficient for all his needs..
Straw and old prairie grass have been thought as useless as grave stones after the resurrection.. But the recent utilizing of them is in keeping with the spirit of the age - with developing patent Hour best suited to human uses from that part of wheat which had been the food of hogs, and with planing mills so contrived that they feed their boilers with their own shavings.. Indeed, it surpasses all witty inventions in its line, unless it be the proposal, just now started, for turning even tramps to account, by clapping them into the regular army, and sending them among Indians to scalp, or to be scalped, no matter which.
Many Nebraska Yankees were made happy last winter, thanks to the Mennonite stove. More will be next winter. That household blessing to an outsider seems capable of little improvement. But the Yankee will improve at, for he has improved everything else he has borrowed - everything, from watches to steam engines, ships, and even religion. In fact his betterments in the last article are said to be as"manifold "As if religion were intended For nothing else but to be mended".
Thus Yankee cuteness may render the Russian stove simpler, smaller, cheaper, of better material, of more elegant design, of more economical combustion. But as now used by Nebraska Meimonites, it is worthy of all acceptation by every prairie pioneer. A Hibernian hearing of a stove that would save half his wood, said he would buy two and save the whole. The save-all that he was after, he would have found in a Mennonite grass burner.