Front plate of "Pennsylvanian Fire-Place" or "Franklin stove", ca. 1760
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Photo courtesy of Conservation Center for Art & Historical Artifacts

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The plate is ornamented with the sun's face surrounded by an aura of rays, flanked by sprays of foliate ornament that end in stylized tulips. The borders of the plate have a raised rim, about 3/4 inch thick. The plate was broken: a large semi-circular chunk is missing from the viewer's lower right corner.

The concept of the open stove combined the qualities of a stove and a fireplace: the heat-conserving property of the metal and the heat-dispensing property of an open fireplace. In addition, such stoves could be inserted into existing chimney systems.

The Winterthur Museum owns a similar front plate centering a solar disk in the form of a human face, with two banners flanking it: on the left the scroll bears the word ALTER; on the right, IDEM. Together, they form the motto "Alter idem," translatable as "Another the same" or "Like each another," that Franklin included in the published design of his stoves. Terms of Use Credits