Economy of Fuel - How to clean and blacklead a Grate - How to lay a Fire - How to clean a Gas Stove - Oil Stoves.
There are a few points which should be borne in mind when selecting a kitchen range.
In some cheap ranges the material is of such an inferior quality that it quickly wears out. One should be chosen of which duplicates of the various parts can be purchased, so that the parts which are subjected to the intensest heat can be replaced when worn.
Some ranges are so badly put together that much coal is wasted in trying to heat the ovens, the heat thus engendered escaping meanwhile through some cranny. Occasionally the fire-receptacle is so small that it cannot contain sufficient fire to heat all the surfaces. On the other hand, some ranges possess so large a fire space that the oven and boiler become over-heated, and much unnecessary fuel is used.
Those grates which can be used both as a closed range and open fireplace are the most convenient.
One of the chief ways of economizing fuel is to use up the small coal simultaneously with the larger pieces. It sometimes happens that the small is allowed to accumulate until the cellar is nearly half-full of it; then fresh coal is ordered, and at once the larger pieces are used, whereupon we are told "nothing was left of the first lot but dust, and that it is not possible to light a fire with coal dust." This is incontrovertible; but coal-dust is invaluable for keeping up a good fire. Moderate-sized pieces should be put on with a pair of tongs, and then some coal-dust lightly sprinkled from a shovel so as to fall between the cinders and fill up the hollows beneath. Or the coal-dust may be mixed with a little water: this answers well for a fire which is to be kept in a long time without attention. Briquets are simply made in this way. "Backing" is the name given to this process of putting small coal on to a good fire and sprinkling it with water; this is usually done to kitchen fires when the morning's cooking is completed. Constant poking is the cause of much extravagance in fuel, and also causes dust in the room, as well as more soot in the chimney.
The sifting of cinders is a great economy (only the actual ash should be thrown away), the cinders being most useful for "backing," also for lighting fires, because being so porous they are soon brought to a state of combustion.
COKE is coal with its volatile gases removed; it is useful and economical, being in many towns much cheaper than coal, and producing a clear smokeless fire. Good ventilation, however, is necessary; if people sit very near it the fumes cause headache and flushed cheeks. To increase the heat by generating steam, sprinkle it slightly with water.
where it can be purchased cheaply, forms a very pleasant fire. Old sleepers from the railway lines cut up into suitable lengths are invaluable; and containing so much creosote, they quickly blaze up.