Last Friday we asked you to figure out what this artifact is:
It looks rather formidable, but it's actually a stove lid lifter. In the days when wood and coal stoves were common, every household would have had at least one of these. On top of the stove sat four or six round, cast iron lids that could be removed to put extra fuel into the stove or to expose your pot directly to the heat. You'd use the bottom of this tool, fit into a notch in the lid, to lift the lid out. Here's a picture in an old Popular Mechanics magazine (1937) which gives you a visual (bottom right of the page). Today you can find a plethora of these inexpensive gizmos on Ebay. I'm partial to this fancy one.
Tenants in 97 Orchard street would have consistently used coal stoves for cooking through the start of the 20th century. They were used as the main source of heat for the apartments, too.
- Posted by Kate