Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Garland Stove

The Garland Stove, which today is known as a premier brand of restaurant grills and ranges, had its start in Detroit in 1864.  Brothers Jeremiah and James Dwyer built a small iron foundry and made cast iron coal and wood stoves.  Their potbellied and parlor stoves were intended to heat homes and business. 

In 1872, Jeremiah Dwyer formed a group of investors and founded the Detroit-Michigan Stove Company.   The Detroit-Michigan Stove Company expanded the variety of stoves available under the Garland label. They included kitchen and cooking stoves, as well as a greater variety of heating stoves.

Other stove companies formed in Detroit in the 1870’s and 1880’s, and consequently, stove manufacture became Detroit’s leading industry in the late 19th century.  By the 1890s, Detroit was known as the “Stove Capital of the World”.  Detroit stoves were shipped all over the world. 

The prosperity of Detroit’s stove manufacturers was due, in part, to innovations in the shipping industry on the Great Lakes.  The opening of the Soo Locks in 1855 at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, allowed iron ore to be transported quickly from the mines of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Detroit.  Iron ore was essential to the manufacture of steel and pig iron, necessary components in stove and other burgeoning industries. Its availability allowed a number of foundries to be built in Detroit.  The growth of the Michigan Stove Company reflected Detroit’s changing economic base in the last decades of the 19th century:  from commercial and transportation interests to manufacturing firms.

Detroit’s expanding foundries benefitted from the labor of immigrants who settled in the city in the late nineteenth century.  By 1890, immigrants, both native and foreign-born, swelled Detroit’s population to over 200,000.  Newcomers needed stoves, and Detroit manufacturers were able to produce stoves and replacement parts in the local factories.   Previously, stoves and replacement parts were ordered and shipped from manufacturers in New York.  The location of the Detroit-Michigan Stove Company and the variety of its Garland Stove product line was an enormous convenience to a population that was relocating in Michigan at a considerable distance from Eastern foundries.

The Garland Stove became a symbol of Detroit’s manufacturing strength in the late nineteenth century when, in 1893, the Michigan Stove Company built a large wooden replica of a Garland stove and shipped it to Chicago to be exhibited at the Columbian Exposition.   Over the last 100 years, the “World’s Largest Stove” was moved around Detroit several times.  In 1998, after a restoration overseen by the Detroit Historical Museum, the stove was put on permanent display at the Michigan State Fairgrounds.  On Saturday, August 13, 2011, lightning from a severe summer storm hit the stove, completely burning the wooden structure.

The Detroit-Michigan Stove Company was acquired by Welbit in 1955, and today the Manitowoc Foodservice Group of New Port Richey, Florida owns the Garland Stove brand.  They manufacture grills and ranges for restaurants and the food industry.

Written by Shelley Griffith

 


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