Swedish Kachelofen, Beautiful Ceramic Stoves

Swedish Kachelofen, Beautiful Ceramic Stoves

Carl Larsson, the Swedish painter and decorator included these beautiful ceramic stoves in many of the paintings of his home.

The home of Karin and Carl Larsson Living in the Countryside by Barbara & René Stoeltie - Swedish Kachelofen – Project Small House
The home of Karin and Carl Larsson
Living in the Countryside by Barbara & René Stoeltie

The book Living in the Countryside by Barbara & René Stoeltie shows photos of the home of Karin and Carl Larsson. It has a photo of the same stove.

This is a lovely book, it is expensive, but often the used editions are not, so check.

Living in the Countryside
by Barbara and Rene Stoeltie, edited by Angelika Taschen >

In the Corner by Carl Larsson - Swedish Kachelofen – Project Small House
In the Corner by Carl Larsson

This is the same stove.

Cosy Corner by Carl Larsson - Swedish Kachelofen – Project Small House
Cosy Corner by Carl Larsson
My friends the carpenter and the painter by Carl Larsson - Swedish Kachelofen – Project Small House
My friends the carpenter and the painter by Carl Larsson
When the Children have Gone to Bed by Carl Larsson - Swedish Kachelofen – Project Small House
When the Children have Gone to Bed by Carl Larsson

This is a different ceramic stove.

Kachelofen, Tile Stoves

These are Kachelofen or Tile Stoves. They are heaters made with ceramic tiles. The heaters burn wood and are designed to more slowly release the smoke so that as much heat as possible would stay in the home. The ceramic absorbs heat and gradually releases it, radiating warmth evenly.

Diagram of the Swedish Kachelofen by Carl Johan Cronstedt and Fabian Wrede - Swedish Kachelofen – Project Small House
Diagram of the Swedish Kachelofen by Carl Johan Cronstedt and Fabian Wrede

It was invented in the 1700s by Carl Johan Cronstedt and Fabian Wrede. Their invention was eight times more efficient than other stoves used at the time. The Kachelofen used much less wood and could heat a larger area. A fire only had to burn in the morning and evening to keep warm all day. A Kachelofen continues to radiate heat for 6 to 12 hours even after the fuel is burned up.

During the building of the manor of Claestorp, southwest of Stockholm, between 1754 and 1758, Cronstedt pondered over the problem of how to keep stoves warm for a long time. The very hard Swedish winters meant that, even in grander homes, life revolved around only a few rooms at a time because of the difficulty of heating them. Cronstedt experimented with stoves designed to force the smoke from the fire up and down through a series of pipes and ducts set in heat-retaining bricks before it was allowed to pass through the chimney. Tiled exteriors also helped to retain and reflect heat. These new stoves were vastly more efficient than the old ones had been and they remained warm for hours after the fire had gone out. Now furniture could be moved out of the huddle surrounding an open fireplace and arranged elegantly against the wall instead.

Swedish Style: Creating the Look by Katrin Cargill


You can still buy Kachelofen - Swedish Kachelofen – Project Small House
You can still buy Kachelofen

You can still buy Kachelofen. They are still being made. You see them in a lot of different styles now.

Sky Blue Kakelugn on eBay - Swedish Kachelofen – Project Small House
Sky Blue Kakelugn on eBay

I found one on eBay. The seller says this Kachelofen was purchased at an antique shop in the 1950s. She bought it because it reminded her of the one in her home in Sweden.

This porcelain stove is from Austria, where it was used as a heating unit. It is about 6 feet high. There is a door at the front for fuel. Lower down on the side is a door to remove ashes. High on the upper back of the stove there is a 4-inch vent hole…

Doors to put in wood and remove ashes in a Swedish Kachelofen - Swedish Kachelofen – Project Small House
Doors to put in wood and remove ashes in a Swedish Kachelofen
The Kachelofen with the two doors open - Swedish Kachelofen – Project Small House
The Kachelofen with the two doors open

She had it appraised by the Chicago Tribune’s antique appraiser in 1999.

What you have is a very beautiful sky blue kakelugn, an antique but highly efficient stove for heating homes. The majority of kakelugns are wood-burning ceramic tile stoves, first developed in Sweden in 1767. Generally, they are 6 to 12 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide. Most have bright ceramic exteriors with hand-painted garlands or embossed medallions. Kakelugns heated Sweden’s manor houses through World War II, after which they were replaced by electric furnaces.

Today, the antique stoves are recognized as historical treasures and new units are being made in Sweden, priced from $3,000 to $25,000. Mark Steinke, the managing director at Salvage One, 1524 S. Sangamon St., where the specialty is architectural antiques, says a 19th Century French ceramic stove in their inventory is priced at $7,400.

Joyce Erickson Pitts, owner of The Inn at Union Pier, a Michigan bed and breakfast, says the 11 antique Swedish kakelugns in their rooms comprise the largest collection in the U.S., assessed seven years ago as worth $10,000 each. She guesses that sum would be the low end for yours, which appears to be in superb condition.

The top of the Kachelofen - Swedish Kachelofen – Project Small House
The top of the Kachelofen

It is still on eBay: Kachelofen on eBay

A doll house Kachelofen - Swedish Kachelofen – Project Small House
A doll house Kachelofen
A doll house Kachelofen - Swedish Kachelofen – Project Small House
A doll house Kachelofen

I also found one for a dollhouse.

A doll house Kachelofen - Swedish Kachelofen – Project Small House
A doll house Kachelofen

The doll house has a Kachelofen and a Mora clock. I would be very tempted to try to paint it to look like the ones in the Larsson home.

Tile Stoves, Swedish Style: Creating the Look by Katrin Cargill
Tile Stoves, Swedish Style: Creating the Look by Katrin Cargill

Swedish Style: Creating the Look by Katrin Cargill has a chapter on Tile Stoves. I quoted a bit of it above.

Left from right; These three examples of Swedish stoves show the different kinds of design used in their decorative tiles, the formal, architectural lines of a classical design match the painte wall panels in a period room. The gleaming doors of the firebox add a luxurious touch. A repeated blue and white motif has been used for this antique stove in a modernized cottage. When polychrome stoves became the fashion, vibrant green was one of the most popular colours.

Swedish Style: Creating the Look by Katrin Cargill

She gives a little more history of the stoves than I found earlier.

The stove is one of the most important features in a typically Swedish room, and traditional tiled versions are still used in many homes. The design of these stoves reached its apogee in the mid eighteenth century, when technical improvements revolutionized the lifestyle of the upper classes while providing designers with yet another outlet for their decorative ideas.  One of the co-inventors of the new stove was Johan Cronstedt, a pupil of Court Architect Carl Harleman, who decorated the interiors at Drottningholm…

Although open stoves, with the fire box at eye level, remained a feature of almost every farmhouse during the course of the eighteenth century, tiled stoves made their appearance in manor houses and stugor throughout the country, as the wealthy installed them in place of open fireplaces.

Swedish Style: Creating the Look by Katrin Cargill

Carl Larsson’s Tiled Stove
Carl Larsson’s Tiled Stove

Many of those in grander houses were made between 1758 and 1788 at the Mariebergt faience and porcelain factory, which was partly owned by Gustav III’s finance minister Count Liljencrantz. The decorations on these stoves were often very elaborate and included family crests, brightly coloured flowers and Chinese-inspired motifs on the tiles. In some examples the taste for Classicism is evident, with the tops of the stoves shaped to resemble columns and ornamented with elaborate swags and urns or with bows and leaves.

Swedish Style: Creating the Look by Katrin Cargill

Carl Larsson’s Tiled Stove
Carl Larsson’s Tiled Stove

In the first decade of the nineteenth century the fashion changed. Repeating motifs and multi-coloured designs were replaced with monochrome tiles and wooden or iron legs which held the stove above the floor gave way to unglazed ceramic plinths which could be painted to resemble stone. Fine examples of both can be seen at Carl Larsson’s house.

Swedish Style: Creating the Look by Katrin Cargill

Carl Larsson’s Tiled Stove
Carl Larsson’s Tiled Stove

Left from right; These three examples of Swedish stoves show the different kinds of design used in their decorative tiles, the formal, architectural lines of a classical design match the painte wall panels in a period room. The gleaming doors of the firebox add a luxurious touch. A repeated blue and white motif has been used for this antique stove in a modernized cottage. When polychrome stoves became the fashion, vibrant green was one of the most popular colours.

Swedish Style: Creating the Look by Katrin Cargill

Katrin Cargill’s book has a lot of information and beautiful photos. She has written quite a few books and I own three of them; Swedish Style, Easy Country and Painted Furniture.