Thursday’s round table to focus on history of local stove industry

By ALLEN MINCEY Staff Writer
Posted 7/15/17

Maybe Cleveland should be called “the stove capital of the nation,” or at least in the state, as many companies that have made up the history of the city were based in the stove industry.

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Thursday’s round table to focus on history of local stove industry

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Maybe Cleveland should be called “the stove capital of the nation,” or at least in the state, as many companies that have made up the history of the city were based in the stove industry.

On Thursday at 6 p.m., the Museum Center at Five Points will hold a round-table discussion that coincides with the museum’s exhibit “Heating Up! The Story of Stoves.” The exhibit is sponsored by Whirlpool Corporation.

Those who will be present as members of the round table include Matthew Brown, owner of Brown Stove Works Inc.; Andrew Johnson, Avery Johnson, Richard “Tiger” Jones, Don Lorton, Leroy Rymer Jr., and Jerry Ward, all representing Magic Chef; and Coleman Sawyer, representing Hardwick Stove.

“For over 100 years, stoves have been designed and manufactured in our city,” said interim museum director Janice Neyman. “We are proud to claim the names of Brown, Dixie, Hardwick, Maytag, Magic Chef and Whirlpool. So, we ask you to join us at a round-table discussion to reflect over 100 years of appliance manufacturing with past and present employees of our current local stove companies, Brown Stove Works, Inc. and Whirlpool Corporation.”

This year, coincidentally, marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of Dixie Foundries in Cleveland, so the display and this round-table discussion are very timely.

Neyman said she feels there will be a great amount of interest in how the stove industry originated in Cleveland and Bradley County, so it was only natural an exhibit would be perfect for the museum. The round-table discussion was brought up as an idea, and should attract many who either just want to learn more about how stoves were involved in the business climate of the area, but also to those who worked in that industry in the past and present.

The exhibit was unveiled several weeks ago, and since then, has had some additions, including more stoves and displays.

“We have incorporated a lot of quotes in the exhibit as well. We wanted to bring in not only the families who started the companies, but the workers who actually were there,” said Emma-Leigh Evors, museum curator of collections. “They are not stove foundries, they are not making and molding the irons, and creating the stoves anymore, so it is kind of lost, especially to my generation.

“Talking first-hand to many of these people was very interesting to me. I believe it will be very interesting to the general public,” she added.

Evors and Neyman said they believe hearing from each of the speakers will be interesting, and there will probably be times to ask round-table participants questions about their respective companies.

While museum members have been sent invitations to the event, both Neyman and Evors stress that it is open to the public. They hope for a nice crowd.

“We would love to see anyone interested in the stove industry, and those interested in the history of our area, come this Thursday,” Neyman said. “I am sure it will be very interesting to all.”

The Museum Center at Five Points tells the story of the Ocoee Region. The museum hosts exhibits and educational programs. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The museum is closed Sunday, Monday and holidays.

For more information about Thursday’s round table discussion, and the museum in general, call 423-339-5745 or visit www.MuseumCenter.org.

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Email: allen.mincey@ clevelandbanner.com

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