July 23, 2013

US ARMY CANNON HEATER 20 potbelly stove

US ARMY CANNON HEATER #20, The us army had pot belly stoves built for use in tents and barrack around the turn of the century. Called the US Army Cannon heater, They were made entirely of cast iron and came in three sizes. The cannon heater #15, #18, #20 and the largest, of the cannon stoves, shown here, is the number #20. The number designates the inside diameter of the fire box, the lower chamber of a pot belly stove. These duel fuel stoves saw duty in both world wars and continued service until the 1950s. The us army cannon stove heater was built as most pot belly type stoves primarily as a coal burning heater, but will also burn wood, and probably anything else that would fit through the feed door opening.

There is no doubt in my mind, that this was absolutely case for the army cannon heater, used during a wartime campaign. The shear size of the #20 cannon stove is daunting, as it dwarfs all other wood stove in my growing antique collection. At almost 100 years old and near perfect shape the vintage military coal heater will become part of a combined home heat and power system (chp) as the waste heat source for a stirling engine, built to turn a small generator, which in turn will charge a back up battery bank, for conversion to ac home power.
Here the cannon #20 is burning 100 lbs of coal for 3 days, with little more than a shake of the grate and a few scoops. If this was an air tight wood burning stove I would have had to tend the fire no less than 4 times a day. The quality of the cast iron castings of this stove are so good that there is no room for stove cement and my repairs were limited to a new baffle and fresh hardware.

The cannon heater is less than ornate, and as antique coal or wood burning base heaters go, the cannon heater 20 is as plain as they come. While most coal stoves of the period where a much decorated center piece of the parlor, as a round oak style, nickel plated base burner and cylinder stove, the cannon heater is even less decorated then a common pot belly rail road caboose stove. This old coal heater ain't pretty, but mine, and after a bit of restoration will be back in service, not for sale. Here i build the insulated chimney flue
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