Raised Hearth with Oven Paintings

Many folks have expressed interest in the raised hearth and oven we use in our 18th century cooking video series. I have recently run into a couple of 16th and 17th century German images that show just such an arrangement.

16th Century Cook working with raised hearth and built in oven
16th Century Cook working with raised hearth and built in oven
17th Century kitchen with raised hearth and oven
17th Century kitchen with raised hearth and oven

These images are from a great resource “House of Mendel’s books” that has hundreds of paintings that depict different trades from the 15th through the 19th centuries.  Pity that there is no complete english translation but very useful none the less.

4 thoughts on “Raised Hearth with Oven Paintings”

  1. Do y’all have a video detailing the construction, interior, or even showing the outside of the raised hearth kitchen?

    1. Hi Kevin.
      We’ve had a number of people ask us about our hearth, and we’re curious about their initial reactions when we tell them it is a video set…a functional set, but a set nonetheless. The raised hearth and oven are based on several period paintings and surviving examples. You can see many of those images on our reference picture blog, SiftingThePast.com — search for “Raised Hearth.” As for its construction, I’ll let you in on the secret: it’s built on a well-constructed wood-framed structure which is stuccoed on its exterior. The hearth floor is made of firebrick laid on layers of cement board. The oven is made of cob. We have a video demonstrating the construction of a cob oven, here. Kinko Denzer also has a great book on earthen ovens. The backwall of the hearth is constructed with 4″-thick solid concrete block which is also stuccoed. The oven mouth passes through the backwall and is built on a covered plinth outside. The oven has its own chimney to aid in air circulation. The hood is made with steel studs, covered in sheet metal and stucco. Our greatest challenge was achieving adequate draw on our chimney (a problem with some of the original hearths as evidenced in some of those paintings I mentioned). We ended up using 15′ of 10″ triple-wall stove pipe, but even that requires that we keep a healthy fire going lest the set fill with smoke. Having said all that, we can’t recommend the use of our plans to anyone due to differences in building codes (after all, it goes without saying that the kitchen is very unconventional!) AND…Our method only works for video sets. It would obviously not be appropriate for a historic site. Hope this spurs some ideas.

      – Kevin Carter

  2. As one of the people who inquired about the hearth, I am not at all surprised it is a working set. The point is that *it works* and it does not offend the eyes of a re-enactor or those he’d wish to invite to play in his kitchen. There is a tradition in my family of having an “outdoor kitchen” to use when it’s too hot indoors, and the kitchen as constructed for your set can be modified to suit nearly any outbuilding (keeping within code, of course). Thank you for the info in this post, as even that much more helps!

    George/Chef Jaji

  3. I have been really enjoyed watching the videos an reading your info on here. Some how it got deleted when I was hacked an had to resign up. Cant wait to see whats next

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