The Franklin wood stove is a free standing, cast iron fireplace insert created in 1741 by Benjamin Franklin.

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BenjaminFranklin is the founder of various great inventions and known for his greatimpact on society.

One of his favorite inventions is the Franklin stove.

In the 18th century, indoor fireplaces were very common,and many people passed away because of the various dangers posed by housefires.

A severe shortage of firewood had also brought the need for a heatingsource that could reduce firewood consumption.

So, Franklin made his stove toaddress these problems.

The Franklin Wood Stove Design

Also referred to as a Pennsylvania fireplace or a circulating stove, the design used two distinctive features, a hollow baffle and an inverted siphon to harness more of the fire"s heat when compared to an ordinary open fireplace.

The inverted siphon is basically a U-shaped flue that draws the hot burning gasses of the fire up and over the hollow baffle positioned in the back of the stove.


The heated air inside the baffle is then expelled into the room through two holes near the top of the stove.

The free standing stove is completely open in the front, and if placed in the center of a room, it can radiate heat from all sides. 

However, the stoves original design had one major flaw, it created a poor draft due to the inverted siphon

As the smoke entered the flue, it cooled off too much before it reached the chimney reducing the draft. 

In order for the draft to function properly, the fire had to burn continuously to keep the flue hot enough to create a strong draft.

Do to this flaw, the stove sold poorly.

How Does The Stove Work?

Franklin drew his inspiration from the work of Jean Desaguliers and Franz Kessler.

He carefully worked to develop a fireplace that would lengthen burn time and produce more heat from fewer pieces of firewood.

His goal was to reduce house fires and the hazards associated with having open fires inside the house.

He was inspired by Kessler"s inverted siphon to extract combustion gases more efficiently.

Franklin"s fireplace was meant to remove as much heat as possible from the gases while pulling out the byproducts from the fireplace through a chimney.


The Franklin Stove was made of cast iron as a substitute forother masonry constituents.

The design was inspired by Desagulier"s experimentsthat show that cast iron was a better radiator of heat compared to traditionalopen fireplaces.

Franklin realized that using metal offered a superior yetsteady and calm heat that was more effective at heating a house.

The original Franklin wood stove was designed with afirebox at the bottom of the fireplace to exit smoke and other combustionbyproducts, which caused some functional problems.

Because smoke rises, theinitial design of the Franklin stove did not work effectively and causedproblems.

However, even with these flaws, the stove was still safer thanold-fashioned open burning fireplaces of the era.

The Franklin stove made agreat impact on people throughout the country as it increased fireplace safetyand saved many lives.

Modern Wood Stove

Over time, Franklin"s fireplace design was developed by others, and technologies led to the modern stoves you know.

Modern stoves are highly efficient and are designed with the latest technologies in order to offer consumers an impeccable experience.

Franklin never patented his stove, which allowed many others to improve on its design and ultimately make it more efficient and effective

The greatest improvement came in 1780 by David Rittenhouse, which used an L-shaped flue to vent smoke out through a chimney, which made the stove become much more popular.

Installing A Franklin Wood Stove

1.  Checkyour local building codes for assistance in installing your stove at the rightdistance from flammable walls. You need to place the stove on a fireproof pad.Check the distance from the furniture, ceiling, and walls.

2.  Ifyou bought a new stove, follow the manual to attach the legs.

3.  Putthe stove standing and install the chimney adapter and washer. The chimney isplaced over the hole, either at the top or at the back of the stove case, toenable smoke to escape through the chimney. Put the fireproof lining at thebase of the chimney adapter and fasten it with screws.

4.  Setthe grille and ash tray inside the stove. The ash pan is put under the grille, whichhas holes to allow ash to fall to the ash pan.

5.  Putthe stove on a fireproof platform and connect the flue to your home"s chimney.

Using A Franklin Wood Stove Today

Compared to today"s more modern wood stoves, the Franklin wood stove is inferior when comparing firewood usage and most importantly, safety.

Back in the 1970s, Montgomery Wards sold a ton of these stoves

They typically had three legs and a set of bifold doors on the front. 

They"re designed to be burned with the doors open, and they burned really hot, which is nice for heat output, but very unsafe.

Franklin Wood Stove

The doors on the front are basically used to seal the unit when it"s not in use, making it more of a fireplace than a true wood stove by today"s standards. 

Franklin stoves are extremely inefficient and burn a lot of firewood.  

Plus, they smoke profusely during use and the fires inside are hard to control, often resulting in over firing (burning too hot) and creating a fire hazard in your home.

Now, many homeowners have replaced these stoves with more modern, efficient, and safe wood stoves

In fact, most homeowners and professionals will agree a Franklin is better suited as an ornamental planter in your garden than a functioning stove.


If you"re looking to purchase a wood burning stove for your home, I would not recommend installing a Franklin wood stove. 

Even though you can still find them online or maybe from a friend, the stoves are just too dangerous and not efficient enough to install in your home.

However, of all his efforts, Franklin is justly creditedfor his efforts to reduce the threat of house fires during his time.

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Look for a more modern wood burning stove that will burn far less firewood, smoke less, and be safer for you to use.