This cast-iron radiator demonstrates both the nineteenth-century taste for classical revival styles and the period's technological advances. The draped central figure, architectural form, and other decorative elements reference ancient Greece. In the new American nation, classical revival styles were widely popular and could be found in a huge range of design types, from architecture to tableware, ennobling utilitarian items with romantic ideals of democracy and cosmopolitanism. The decoration on this radiator, or "dumb stove," follows this fashion on what was then a modern appliance. At the time, some Americans began to replace their wood-burning fireplaces with iron stoves as a central heat source. Just as the hearth before it, the stove would have been a focal point of an elegantly decorated space. The “dumb stove,” which did not have a place to burn coals itself, was usually found on the second floor; a stove pipe connected it to a first-floor working stove that emitted heat. This specific example was previously installed in a mansion owned by Eugene Keteltas, a member of an established New York family, on the corner of then–fashionable and wealthy lower Second Avenue and St. Mark's Place.
This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled The Warmth of the Hostess Coming From the Radiator.
This object was donated by Edith Wetmore.
Cite this object as
Radiator (USA); Manufactured by Stratton & Seymour (United States); cast iron; 1918-43-1-a/j
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibitions Hewitt Sisters Collect and Faster, Cheaper, Newer, More: The Revolutions of 1848.