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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/74

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The last, but by far the most important of the kitchen requisites that we are called upon to consider is the apparatus which is used for cooking, heating water, etc., usually known as the kitchen range or kitchener, names which originally had a distinctive import, but which have lost much of their primary significence, and are now applied without much discrimination to cooking appliances of every kind, whether the fuel used be coal or gas. We will, however, for the sake of clearness, use the terms kitchen range, kitchener, and gas range or stove, to indicate three widely marked varieties of cooking apparatus: (1) the kitchen range, being taken to imply a range, either open or close, that is fixed in its place with brickwork, etc., and is therefore immovable; (2) the kitchener, a range that is entirely independent of all its surroundings, one which stands, usually raised on four low legs, on the hearth in the recess otherwise occupied by the kitchen range, movable in itself when necessary, but virtually a fixture through its weight and size; and (3) the gas range or stove, like the kitchener really movable, though virtually a fixture for the same reasons, but differing from the kitchener, not only in form and in the kind of fuel used, but also in the fact that it need not, like the kitchener, of necessity be placed on the hearth, that the chimney may be utilized as a means of escape for smoke and the various products of combustion, but may be placed in any part of the kitchen convenient for the purpose.

The Kitchen Range.—Kitchen ranges may be distinguished as close and open, the chief point of difference between them being in the construction of the fire-grate or box in which the fuel used for heating purposes is burnt. In the open range the fire-grate is uncovered at the top, and forms a cavity, enclosed by the boiler and oven at the sides and back, by a grating of close bars at the bottom, and by parallel horizontal bars, about one inch square in section, placed from one and a half to two inches apart in front. The fire in the open range, generally speaking, can be made larger or smaller at pleasure by means of a movable check attached to a notched bar which is fixed at right angles to its surface on one side of it, and moved backwards and forwards by means of a small cog-wheel, to a greater or less distance from the fixed side of the grate, as may be found necessary. In the close range the fire-chamber is inexpansive, closed in front either wholly or partially by an iron door, and covered in at the top by an iron plate, movable, and generally in two parts, namely, a circular plate, dropping into and filling an opening in a square plate, the size of the top of the fire box. At the back there is a fire-brick moulded into shape. Close ranges are now chiefly used, but open ranges are to be met with in the country and in some towns in the North and in houses that have been built for some years, and in which the open range that was originally fixed in the kitchen, still remains.