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Reflector Ovens

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1 Reflector Ovens on Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:38 am

osted on Texas Civilian Yahoo list July 2009 by Vicki Betts.

Okay, I'm going back to considering a reflector oven, and I retrieved Debbie's post about He has two kinds--one for meat and one for biscuits. However, take a look at the meat one listed under Ovens at the left of the page, and also the pictures at Does it look like a pan could balance on the supporting pins, and so a person could cook either meat or bake biscuits in this one? When I look at the biscuit oven, it appears to be triangular in shape, which is not what I've thought of as typical. Too bad, because the cost difference is substantial.I forgot part two of the question. *If* I had said reflector oven, and wanted to bake a pie, is a deep tin pan more accurate, or something pottery? I would assume a tin pan would be sufficient for something like biscuits.

Any thoughts?

I looked at both of the ovens and the meat oven is what I think of as a reflection oven. The baking oven looks to me that a small fire might be built on the bottom of it. It is hard to tell since it isn't in use. The little rod is really not wide enough to balance anything on it but you could but a trivit on the bottom to rest your pie or what ever. I know it is more money but the meat oven is more flexable. You might even be able to have him create a moveable shelf to put in the oven. It wouldn't hurt to ask anyway.
The only other suggestion I have is write one of the folks at Sturbridge Village and see if they can tell you something on making your oven do both or if that was done back then. Still at $225 it is a good deal.
Debbie Hill Russell

I did in fact use a reflector oven at Dallas Heritage Village quiet a bit to roast meats. I have not ever baked in one, although I know there are ones set up for that exact purpose. they have a center pan like a cookie sheet, with an open space below that for heat distribution, and a cover over the sheet for top heat to come in. Our meat oven came from the tinsmith shop at Sturbridge Village, and was around $500. i can't remember if they had baking ones or not...


The bake oven was the only one I saw on the Sturbridge site last night.
Debbie Hill Russell

so now the big question is how common were they in 1860s Texas?

Annette Bethke

I suspect that in upper middle class and upper class kitchens they were fairly common. They are one of the easiest ways to roast meats, and the next logical development from the turnspit actually in a fireplace. there were certainly local tinsmiths in Texas, and an amazing amount of commercial goods were being imported too

Just wondering though if the family was upper class or even upper middle class wouldn't some of them have stoves instead of these ovens? I think I have only been in one restored to the period 1860's house (George Ranch) and I don't remember if it had a stove or not. If I am remembering it correctly Henkle Sq has only one house with a stove and it is a coal or charcoal stove from what Deborah has told me. But that may not have been in that house originally.
Curious minds want to know.

Debbie Hill Russell

Stoves are certainly available by 1860 even in areas off the train routes- but very, very rare. Even as wealthy as William Brown Miller, who built the large greek revival home that is at Dallas Heritage Village, was he did not have a stove in the early 1860s in the property's kitchens. Most Texans are still working off of open hearth cooking at that time, and really many of them up until at least the mid-1870s. Until the train come through an area coal would also have been largely unavailable except to blacksmiths who spent a lot of money for wagon transport, so what stoves there might have been off-train would have been wood.


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