To make a fire in a stove or range, take off the covers, brush out the ashes and knock all clinkers from the sides of the fire box. Open all the dampers. Bring shavings or paper, wood and coal. Cover the grate with shavings or loosely crumpled pieces of paper. Lay in crosswise small pieces of wood, and on top of these larger pieces, being careful to fill all the corners of the fire box. Leave spaces between for the passage of air, and light the fire from underneath.
When the wood begins to burn put on coal, pressing the wood down to the grate. Add more coal after the first supply kindles. As soon as the fire burns freely close the back damper, and when the oven is hot close the front damper. Never allow the coal to come above the edge of the fire box.
Every stove or range has, at least, two dampers; one to allow the air to pass up through the fire, another to allow the gas to escape up the chimney and to complete the circulation of air. When the oven is to be used, the dampers should be so regulated as to allow the heated air to pass around the oven.
In making a fire one thing should be borne strictly in mind. Never pour coal-oil on the kindling to make it burn more freely or on the fire to give it new life. If you have it in view to do this you had better take poison at once, and avoid the more painful suicide of burning to death, which has been the fate of so many who had the habit of using this dangerous material.
To keep the fire over night, close the front damper and leave the back one partly open ; put on fresh coal and after it has kindled open the cooling doors to admit cold air over the fire.
The stove is blackened to make it look well, to prevent it from rusting and to keep in the heat. Moisten the blacking with warm or cold water, making a paste about as thick as cream. Rub this over the stove while it is cold and polish with a soft brush after the fire is kindled. 372