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Captain Jim

The Tin Kitchen

48 posts in this topic

For a long time now I have been looking for the earliest reference to a "tin kitchen", a kind of half-round reflector oven. To date I have only been able to find references to around the time of the Revolution. That is until tonight. On the 18th Century Material Culture's Facebook page I found two paintings dating to the late 1600's with clear depictions of the "tin kitchen." "The Cook, 1657-1667" and an untitled work dated sometime prior to 1678.

11-9c2fd84367.jpg

12-0287f796be.jpg

So now I will buy a tin kitchen and use it secure in the knowledge that it is at least period. Now, can anyone find a reference to one of these, or something similar, being aboard a ship?

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I've seen them during Napoleonic times. In fact, I believe they show one in Master and Commander. It stands to reason that they'd use one if they could, but I'll start looking.

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I haven't found it yet, but it's also called a vasculum and you can buy one here...

http://www.cg-tinsmith.com/catalog2.htm#vasculum

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Not the same thing, mate, although as a biologist I may have to get one of those now, too. Damn you.

This is what we're looking at:

Oven%20+%20Bird.jpg

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Oh, but on the same page as you posted, right below the vasculum, is a tin kitchen. But, like most, he wants $450 for it. Not going to happen. The one I posted is $130.

Edited by Captain Jim

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Yeah, sorry. It was mislabled on a tin kitchen I found in an image search, but it led to the dealer, so it's sixes.

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Here is what I'm thinking, in terms of this tin kitchen. As far as I know, the iron oven/stove wasn't invented until 1735 or later (more likely after 1800.) Most cooking at this (1720) time was done on open hearths or brick and mortar bread-type ovens. So how did sailors cook before the advent of the iron stove? Would they have used what was common on shore and just moved it aboard ship? Were open hearth/oven combinations, like on shore, used on ship?

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Now here I have found this diagram of a warship that shows a brick-and-mortar open hearth fireplace and oven, #31 in the list, just abaft the foremast, second deck below weather.

warship.jpg

Edited by Captain Jim

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The 17th Century (built 1628) Swedish Warship Vasa has a brick galley as well. This is a photo of the model of the ship from the Vasa Museum in Stockholm.

450px-Vasa_galley.jpg

Photo from Wikimedia galley, taken by Peter Isotalo

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The brick stoves, hearths, etc. were extensively talked about in another thread here on the Pub, but I can't find it. Almost every example of galley from the period includes a bricked structure and huge kettles and cooking ovens made of copper. Some examples...

The Susan Constant

DSC00225.JPG

323765991_f900fa0218_z.jpg

kitchen-4.jpg

The Mayflower

v2012_08_01_MayflowerII_galley.jpg

galley03sm.jpg

6235896622_558601fe52_z.jpg

A copper oven inside a brick housing

stove.JPG

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The brick stoves, hearths, etc. were extensively talked about in another thread here on the Pub, but I can't find it.

Is this the other topic you were looking for? Galleys in the Golden Age

Almost every example of galley from the period includes a bricked structure and huge kettles and cooking ovens made of copper. Some examples...

I would think that would be to protect the ship as much as possible. Once a flame jumps out of those little tin deals, you might quickly find yourself in serious trouble while sitting in the middle of the wooden world. This is why even the pirates had rules about lighted candles, pipes and so forth below decks.

As an OT aside, look at that nifty little box of bottles on the Mayflower.

The Mayflower

v2012_08_01_MayflowerII_galley.jpg

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That's not the topic I was looking for, but thank you! It contains the galley of the Maryland Dove, which was one I was hunting for.

Dove_2005-03-26_15-50-21.jpg

This is the one I'd like to build for events.

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The brick stoves, hearths, etc. were extensively talked about in another thread here on the Pub, but I can't find it.

Is this the other topic you were looking for? Galleys in the Golden Age

Almost every example of galley from the period includes a bricked structure and huge kettles and cooking ovens made of copper. Some examples...

I would think that would be to protect the ship as much as possible. Once a flame jumps out of those little tin deals, you might quickly find yourself in serious trouble while sitting in the middle of the wooden world. This is why even the pirates had rules about lighted candles, pipes and so forth below decks.

As an OT aside, look at that nifty little box of bottles on the Mayflower.

The Mayflower

v2012_08_01_MayflowerII_galley.jpg

The Tin Kitchen was placed in front of a fire, not the fire placed in it. And, yes, one of the first things I saw in this picture was the case of case bottles. The hearth in William's post would be perfect for use with a tin kitchen. I also noticed that most of these galleys seem to be set up for stews and the like, which makes sense for a large crew.

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No brick bread ovens?

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Bread for ship's use would have been baked before the voyage and shared. Those brick ovens take a huge amount of space and firewood, not practical at all.

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....Those brick ovens take a huge amount of space and firewood, not practical at all.

Yeah, and on a Zodiac raft with little room for bottled water, a couple of extra RPG rockets and some snack bars ... forget about it.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but machine rolled tin is a post GAOP thing right????

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file://localhost/Users/jenniferdobyns/Pictures/iPhoto%20Library/Originals/2013/Feb%2026,%202013_5/2013-02-26_14-35-01_158.jpg


OK, if this works, it's a pic of three different "ovens" in front of a fire. Two are tin, these are arranged so you can bake in them (they hold trays) and the bake kettle is self-explanatory. The tin ovens are a different shape, but they are here to show how the concept works for those who haven't seen it before. The ones pictured in the art at the beginning of this thread are for roasting meat.



file://localhost/Users/jenniferdobyns/Pictures/iPhoto%20Library/Originals/2013/Feb%2026,%202013_2/2013-02-26_15-33-50_15.jpg


Here are the results from today's efforts (we were baking at a workshop on Tea with Susan McLellan Plaisted). Yes, some of them are kind of dark on the bottom. 11 people juggling multiple tasks and one hearth. It gets kinda crazy. And I think maybe someone forgot to put the spacers between the pan and the bottom of the bake kettle. It wasn't my part of the project so I can't be sure, but that's the most likely cause. I was working on the knots.

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Sigh, apparently not. I've posted pics here before, but heck if I can figure out how to do it now!

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Sigh, apparently not. I've posted pics here before, but heck if I can figure out how to do it now!

Jen - There's the little green "Image" square on the control bar. To its left is the "link" icon.

(If it's any help. I listen to this when editing posts.) ...

Edited by landlubbersanonymous

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Jen, you appear to be trying to post an image that's located somewhere on your computer. Unfortunately you can't do that here.

If the images are on the web somewhere, call each up in a new tab or browser window and copy the URL (This URL will start with 'http://' not 'file://', The URL should appear near the top of the browser in a white box. If it does not, look up your browser type using google and 'display url' or something similar and you will find instructions for doing that.) Then post the copied URL string using the photo button above the editing space.

If your images are not on the web, load them into the gallery here at the Pub (or load them into a free image space if you have one set up) and then copy the URL as explained above.

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Yep, that is exactly what was going on, no URL to use. Captain Jim is very generously going to post the pics for me. I tried going to the gallery and it wasn't cooperating either last night. If I have a chance to play with this when it isn't after a long day I'll give it another shot. Right now I'm juggling too many balls!

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Here are the pictures Jen was trying to post. The first two are of two reflectors (and a Dutch Oven) in use in front of a fireplace. Note the hearth being at floor level, which is quite common with cooking hearths. Since this kind of oven has to be used at the level of the fire, this is the usual setup. Some hearths, however, are built at waist or even chest level. So long as the hearth is wide enough, these can still be used. James Townsend & Sons has a purpose built demonstrations kitchen with just such a raised hearth. Eliminates all that bending over. The galley in the illustration I posted seems to have a raised hearth on one side and a large pot and open hearth on the other. Also note the small kettle in the second picture. Tea, anyone?

Reflector+Oven+2.jpg

Reflector+Oven+1.jpg

The third is of the results.

Reflector+Oven+Results.jpg

Edited by Captain Jim

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Thanks for the pictures, Jen.

So this kind of brings up bread again. Was bread never cooked on board? Or was it simply uncommon or not for the common sailor, just the Captain and officers? What I really need is someone with access to manifests and wills to do a search. If these, or similar ovens were recorded as having been aboard I would think that would definitively answer the question.

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Ooooooooohhhh. >_< I could swear I saw something about a bread oven on a 1st rate navy ship either here or in one of the books I was reading. I may be wrong, but it sounds very familiar...

However, that would be a luxury not accorded a smaller vessel, so it would probably have nothing to do with the sort of vessels pirates had.

Edit: Here is the post I was thinking of - it's my comment that makes me think that may have made bread, actually - where the author refers to efforts at baking. But it's quoted from William Raines Thrower's book which I don't trust very much. (I know he has some facts wrong in his book on pirates, so I take everything he says with a grain of salt. Which you could use to make bread with, of course.)

Shipboard Cooking

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Oh, for that 1st rate SoL, was the oven for general bread making, or did they just have a small one so that the officers could get fresh bread?

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