Dunton’s of Reading Showmans Stove

Dunton's of reading do not need introduction in the world of horse drawn waggons. They were the 'Rolls Royce' of waggons with some of their models costing several times more than the average home of the period. No expense was spared on their construction and fittings.

I was appraoched last year by a chap that was restoring a Dunton's Showman's waggon and so I wanted to make every effort to save what remains there were.

Below is the before and after pictures of what was presented to me for restoration and the finished article.

Narrowboat back cabin stoves now in production

Please be advised we are now in production of authentic narrowboat back cabin stoves. These will be on a limited run basis and will be manufactured to order. Please allow 12 months for your order to be delivered.
More details are in the 'SHOP', please follow the tab above.

A few new arrivals

There has been a lot of coming and going at the workshop of late and I will try to bring this blog up to date over the coming weeks.
Here is three pictures of some ranges that arrived this week. A very nice 'Mrs Sam' type range manufactured by Dobbie Forbes Ltd, a Larbert with boiler by the same and a lovelly little "Nipper" stove from Lane & Girven.

Back cabin stove for narrowboat ‘Dane’

Here are some patterns that I have prepared this week for a back cabin stove in the narrowboat 'Dane' (1909). The stove is incredibly rare these days but would have once been found in most of the motor boats of the early 20th century.
I am doing a lot of work to this range at present so further updates will follow.

Larbert for Duntons Showmans van

Here we have some of the remains of the a (once) lovely little 20" Larbert range that once lived in a early 20th c Duntons showmans wagon. The wagon itself is extremely rare and is currently under going restoration.
The range is a real mess and has been left with soot and damp in it since the 1960's hence the condition of the parts in the pictures. There is some extensive pattern making to do to get this little range back together again but it is not beyond hope. I hope to have this range fit for service early in the new year so watch this space.

New workshop

Well we have finally begun the move to the new (much larger) workshop so thank you to all those who have been patient during this time. You can expect big changes to the website, services and products over the coming months with some exciting new developments like the manufacture of very high quality replica 'Nipper' stoves, 'Hostess' ranges and authentic Larbert and Guidwife 'Back cabin stoves'! I will post with more details on this as time goes on. All the best. Olly

Historic fiddle rails for back cabin stoves

I am often asked to provide 'Back cabin stoves' for the historic narrow boats. These were commonly 'marinised' portable cooking ranges typically 20"-24" in width depending on wether or not they were used in a 'Butty' or 'Motor' boat. Although the ranges of this size are very rare they do come up and I try to keep at least a couple in stock. However the most prominent and unique feature to the ranges used in the back cabin was the highly polished brass fiddle rail and standards. Finding original sets is practically impossible and in fact very few actual exist even on original ranges. I am pleased to say that I have produced a set of patterns for the rail and standards taken directly from an original set. These standards and rail will be cast in Somerset in brass to the exact design and dimensions as the original ones used on working boats throughout the Uk. They will be available as part of my restorations only and not as a seperate set. Below is a picture of an original set as reference.

At the foundry

For those that get the opportunity to visit a working foundry its an incredible experience. Iron begins to melt at 1200 degrees centigrade so you can imagine the heat radiating from the furnace! I took my camera along last time I was visiting so share a little of the process involved.
In the first pic the two halves of the sand 'moulds' are being assembled while some 'cores' in the foreground have been lit up and painting to dry them out. After that the crucible it taken from the fire with its 80Kg load of molten iron and poured into the moulds.
After that its a matter of waiting for the iron to cool before its removed from the moulds. The last picture shows the results of the labour sat on my bench before fettling.

Larbert found in Coastguard’s cottage, Minehead

I had a call last year from a chap who was very excited having found a Larbert Portable range behind a 1980s kitchen that he was removing from a property. Since it was local to me I popped down that night to have a look. We agreed to remove the range and the remains of the slate surround, restore it and reinstall it exactly how it was. I will be writing an article on this restoration in the near future but before that here are a few pictures of the the opening after the range was removed and after it had been put back again.

For those that have tried to move one of these "Portable ranges", here is my secret weapon;