Dave Erickson, Rescuer of Stoves
For more than 35 years, Dave Erickson has been restoring old stoves, returning them to safe and productive use. His workshop is a Victorian-era train depot in Littleton, Massachusetts.
Once described as “an artist of cast iron,” Dave Erickson is also a master of old-stove technology. Vintage stoves typically burned wood or coal, so converting them for modern use almost always means retrofitting them to run fully or at least partially on electricity or gas or both. Every working part is meticulously taken apart, cleaned, inspected, and repaired or replaced. Pilot lights and thermostats are calibrated to meet modern safety codes. Dave and “chief restoration employee” Keith Areneault also polish up the porcelain and the nickel or brass fittings, resulting in a period piece that looks as good as new. Erickson also delivers the stoves and teaches their new owners how to use them.
Past projects have ranged from a late-19th-century decorative potbelly stove to the 1917 Vulcan that Kate Winslet used in her pie-baking business in the HBO mini series Mildred Pierce. (The range, which Erickson just happened to have on hand, once belonged to Broadway composer Richard Rogers.)
Current inventory includes a 1915 Sterling wood, coal, and gas combination range with original nickel plating, and a circa 1933 estate series eight-burner Magic Chef in excellent condition with original chrome and porcelain and blue spatterware interiors. Of course, restored ranges like these don’t come cheap: the Sterling is available for $8,500, and the Magic Chef—a rare and expensive model even when it was new—is $24,000. Erickson also restores ranges and stoves found and shipped by enthusiasts from all over the country.
Meet Dave and see examples of restored ranges and stoves at the Historic Home Show at the Valley Forge Casino Resort, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Feb. 6–8, 2015.
Erickson’s Antique Stoves