When the settlers first arrived, their top priority was to build a home. The people on the treeless homesteads built sod homes (sometimes called ‘soddies’), and those who lived in a wooded area built log homes. The settlers of Saskatchewan arrived with very little. They only had what they could carry in their trunks and what was on their backs. They had to use their resources in order to survive. They built their homes and many of the items in their homes by hand.
Prairie winters were long and very cold. A lot of wood was needed for the fireplace to keep the home warm. There were not many trees, so settlers had to search for trees near the rivers and sloughs (ponds). Stoves became more popular than the fireplace because less wood was needed to heat a room.
Settlers liked that stoves required less wood than a fireplace to heat up a room.
The first stoves were small and made of cast iron. Stoves were used for cooking and for heating the home. The stoves were rectangular in shape and stood on four legs. There were stoves with two burners on the top and an oven. Some stoves even had a water tank called a ‘reservoir’ that could be heated for hot water.
The first stoves were small and made of cast iron.
Wood or coal was used as fuel for the stove. If wood or coal was hard to find, then twisted straw and corn stalks were burned, just like in a fireplace. A pipe carried the smoke out of the house. The children had to keep the wood box full and fill the reservoir with water. In the winter, snow was melted and the water was used for washing clothes and for baths.
The stove quickly filled with ashes and required cleaning. A metal bucket for ashes was kept near the stove.
Stoves in settler’s homes were used for cooking and for heating.