Advertising postcard recently offered 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.
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.
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 article about the opening of the grocery store can be found 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.
Who has an Indianapolis Stove Co. or Home Stove Co. appliance hidden away somewhere?
What memories do you have that includes sitting around an old-fashioned stove to keep warm?
Please share your stories with us in a comment below.
Thank you for this great article about my great-grandfather’s (and grandfather’s and father’s) company.
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.
A number of Catalogs and brochures of the HOME STOVE COMPANY are available at the Indiana Historical Society Library.
Five (5) restored stoves and ranges are in the Indiana State Museum’s collection. Only one is currently on dispaly.
Hi. I have a Home Stove Co. Model Oak no 314 parlor stove that is being restored. Do you have any info on this stove? Can you direct to anyone who is knowledgeable about the parlor stoves from Home Stove? Thanks
I recently restored a wood stove belonging to my wife’s grandparents. It was manufactured by the Indianapolis Stove Company.
Plate reads “Torrid” and model seems to be 217. Wish I new more like when it was made and possibly what it sold for new.
I have photos if you might be interested.
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.
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.
My sister in law has an Indianapolis Stove, Burr Oak No. 14, 1891. Wondering it’s value?
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.
Hello, I have an model 6-40 Indianapolis stove. I can’t find anything on it. Is it valuable? Thank you very much.
Valuing vintage items isn’t our area of expertise. We recommend Scott Keller, http://www.blackardandgeiger.net for appraisals.
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?
Thank you for this piece I have an Indianapolis Stove Company
Parlor Stove It is Blue and Stainless steel
number. 219 Torrid Stove
I have a Elk stove 128 by Indianapolis Stove Company. Its almost like a barrel stove but more ornate
I have a porcelain radiant home stove sign 20” by 8 “.
I have a model 252 D. Was trying to find some information about it. I can’t find anything. Can you help?
We are so thrilled to have this information published. My husband is currently restoring a KING/WONDER round #61 Indianapolis Stove Co. pot belly stove. It was giving to us by my father (step), David J. Broadhead, which was given to him by his father, Harry J. Broadhead. We know the stove is at least 100 years old but cannot trace it back further than that. Upon taking the stove apart we found a piece that has initials engraved into it. Obviously a previous owner, if not the original owner.
I was born and raised in Indianapolis as was/is the Broadhead’s. The stove will reside in Alabama until a future generation decides to relocate it. We are proud to have a part of Indianapolis history in our home! – Julie & Tony Lewis
We are currently restoring an 1880 home, we came across a Home Stove Model 40 to put in our home. Looking for any information on this stove or where I can begin my search.
Rick and Kim Quilter
I just picked up a “Pride” model stove mfg’d by the Home Stove Co. An ornate piece on the side of the stove has the date “1901.” Is this the date it was manufactured or the date when that particular model was introduced? Also, the stove has fancy cover on the top to cover the twin burner plates (swings out of the way when you want to use the burners). There’s a spot in this “swinging cover” for a medallion of some sort in the middle. This piece is missing, and I was hoping that someone has a similar stove that can show me what’s supposed to be there (so I know what to look for).
We have a model Air-tight Hot Blast parlor stove. Completely restored and back in use, heating our home. A very large stove at 58 inches tall with the final and 65 inches in circumference. Had all the nickel trim pieces redone. She’s a beauty.