Sunday Ads: Hot Product

Written by on March 1, 2015 in Sunday Ads - 7 Comments
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Beautiful advertising postcard recently found on eBay. The circa 1905 rendering depicts the manufacturing plant of the Home Stove Company.  Located at 501-535 Kentucky Avenue, it was bounded by Henry, Aug, Merrill and Eckert (later, California) Streets.   

Conquering winter has been more than a pastime in this region throughout all of its human history.
One Hoosier made it his passion.

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The Cast Iron Stove
Many of us lick our lips at the thought of waking up to a farm-style breakfast made on a cast-iron kitchen stove. After the 1850s, stove manufacturers produced large models upon which a farmwife might cook bacon, eggs, ‘taters, and corn beef hash, with cinnamon rolls rising in the stove, below. The position of the burners on these stoves dictated their temperature, so an experienced cook knew the best burner for simmering the coffee, and which one would fry the eggs. There was no such thing as a thermostat. A cook learned to regulate temperature based on the look and feel of the fire (wood or coal, depending on the model).

Cast iron stoves were also used to keep rooms warm. Fireplaces were a notoriously inefficient means of heating the home. By 1860, most families were boarding up their fireplaces to install stoves upon their hearths — venting the smoke through existing chimneys. The parlor stove became popular at the height of cast iron technology. Many of these appliances featured intricate designs reflective of the Victorian era to complement a home’s formal living area. Not only were stoves of the day beautiful, they allowed one to keep the “parlor” warm for entertaining during harsh Hoosier winters.

Enter George Johann Alig (1852 – 1941), an enterprising young man who came to Indianapolis in 1871 from Switzerland. Alig had no specific skills when he arrived, but being an industrious sort, he found work right away at D. Root & Co. By 1875, Alig was one of the well-heeled incorporators of the Indianapolis Stove Company, but he sold his interest in that business to build Home Stove Company in 1893.

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The showroom for the Home Stove Company, located at 85 and 87 South Meridian street in Indianapolis. The manufacturing of the stoves was done at 501 Kentucky Ave. and the foundry was in Lawrence, IN.  This photo was found in Hyman’s Handbook of Indianapolis printed in 1902.

Business was good, and Alig was granted several patents for both cooking and heating stove design. His company eventually grew to employ over 250 men, expanding to multiple sites and selling its products in every state in the Union.

The Alig family resided at 1608 Park Avenue in a beautiful, Swiss-inspired mansion.  After the Aligs moved on, the residence was used as a VVW Post.  Sadly, the home was demolished and replaced by a Kroger in 1962.  An HI Mailbag article about the opening of the grocery store can be read here.

Not much exists of the once vibrant manufacturer except some advertising ephemera and a few beautiful antique stoves, now in private collections.  George Alig Sr. and his family are buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.

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Advertising trade card

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Patent diagram

 

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Home Stove Company featured in the 1896 book, “Indianapolis of To-Day”

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Company catalog, early 1900s.

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Company catalog 1916

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None of the Home Stove Company buildings remain today.

Check those barns and basements! Do you have an Indianapolis Stove Co. or Home Stove Co. appliance hidden away?
Do you have memories or family stories of sitting around such a stove to keep warm?

Share them with us in the comment box below.

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About the Author

Lisa Lorentz is a writer, nonprofit director, native Hoosier & Indianapolitan with an awkward fascination for dusty attics, antique typewriters and microfilm.

7 Comments on "Sunday Ads: Hot Product"

  1. Roger Alig March 1, 2015 at 10:48 pm · Reply

    Lisa,
    Thank you for this great article about my great-grandfather’s (and grandfather’s and father’s) company.
    Roger

    • Lisa Lorentz March 2, 2015 at 9:54 pm · Reply

      My pleasure, Alig Family!
      It’s great to hear that HSC is still tickin’!
      Please feel free to share any family memories or stories about the history of business.

      Best,
      Lisa

  2. Jenn Alig March 1, 2015 at 10:59 pm · Reply

    The Home Stove Company still exists! We just don’t make stoves anymore. :). The George Alig Family is all over the country now, but still pretty close knit; we had a Home Stove Board meeting/reunion in the summer of 2014. Even for those of us who live where it is always warm and dry, Indianapolis still has a sense of hometown for us. Thanks for the article! Jenn Alig, Phoenix AZ.

  3. Keith Hunter April 2, 2016 at 11:50 am · Reply

    Great article! I came across it while researching a Home Stove Co. furnace in the house I just moved into. Now I need to figure out how it works.

  4. Ron Henkelman June 3, 2016 at 1:50 pm · Reply

    My sister in law has an Indianapolis Stove, Burr Oak No. 14, 1891. Wondering it’s value?

  5. Anna McNally September 10, 2016 at 4:04 pm · Reply

    I have a Bennett Winner 414 Parlor Stove, made by the Indianapolis Stove Company. Thanks for the article you wrote I really enjoyed the history.

  6. David Loman March 26, 2017 at 8:04 pm · Reply

    I am desperately looking for a catalog or any information on parlor stoves manufactured by the Home Stove Company of Indianapolis. I have a number 9 model round stove that is very ornate but I can not find any information about the stove. Nor do I find any for sale anywhere. It is though the stoves never existed. Where can I find information about the various products made by Home Stove Company?

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