The pot belly stove is a cast-iron wood/coal burning stove that is round with a bulge in the middle of it. Its name is derived from resemblance of the stove to that of a fat man’s pot belly, Usually those that were used in schools and general stores stood on 12 inch legs, however a stove on a railroad car is different.
The Caboose Rail Road Stove, at the front of this loading door, you will notice that it has a double latch system, or a safety. This is because caboose stoves were largely left unattended, and if you've ever been on an old train, with the side to side motion and bumping around, it would be too easy to have a simple door catch spring open and spill forth hot coals on the floor of the train. The rocking motion of the train brings up my next point, these stoves did not have legs, but were built to be directly bolted to the floor. A stove with 12" legs sitting on the floor of a moving railroad car would simply fall over before it got out of the rail yard or depot. And finally, in almost all cases, the stoves had a Lipped Top, a solid ring of cast iron above the top cook surface, usually 1" or more, to keep the coffee pot or pan of chili from sliding off while under way. Also, in almost all cases, they were coal stoves, as that is what the train's locomotive was burning. Coal must have draft from the bottom of the fire, thus it has to have draft controls below the firebox. Note that literally thousands of these Original stoves where cannibalized for their cast iron content during our country's War Efforts,
Three Types of Pot Belly Stoves Used in the Past Times
There are at least three famous types of used in the past time. The first type is called Monica. It was made by the Union Stove Works Company in the year 1890-1900. It has a dual wood-loading system where the wood can be loaded from the top or the front in a traditional fashion by lifting the cook lid. This type is tall, 52 inches. It is the most expensive pot belly stove because of its good function and the size it possesses.
The second type is Estate Smoke Consumer. This kind of pot belly stove is able to get up and go. It is the wood stove that was originally made by the Estate Stove Company between 1900 until 1920. This kind of stove was usually used in the trains. Furthermore, it is also used to heat up meals or a pot of coffee. The features of this type are wide and flat bottom which provides a stable base when the trip turned bumpy.
The last pot belly stove is Station Agent #14. It is used by the rail travelers to pass the time. It is designed and used primarily to heat rail stations, too, between 1800 and 1900. This type of stove stands almost 4 feet tall. It sparkles with some nickels that are mostly seen on . It is even held up by three decorative legs. What makes it awesome also is that it has a nickel emblem above the wood loading door. It features a large cook lid on the stove’s top.
and finally since we mentioned the Station agent stove did you know that the name "Station Wagon" came from the carriages that hung around railroad stations to carry people and luggage to hotels etc. The carriages were originally called "Depot hacks" (the hackney carriage was an old name for taxis). Over time they went from being called hacks to being called "carryalls" or "suburbans" or "station wagons", Eventually when gasoline powered vehicles came along and replaced the horse drawn ones, Detroit decided to call the big family carryall vehicles a "station wagon."