Friday, March 30, 2012

Praxis or Civil War Archaeology, take your pick: Civil War Crimean Ovens

When I last ventured to DC, I took a selfish day before the hearings and visited Gunston Hall, the home of Founder George Mason. Luckily, the Friends of Fairfield Archaeology were having a seminar that Saturday and I learned a heckuva lot about local historical archaeology, Gunston Hall, etc. and met a whole bunch of nice folks. Now, FOFA is having their Spring Symposium on Archaeology of the Civil War at the James Lee Center, Monroe Gymnasium, 2855 Annandale Road, Falls Church, Virginia on Saturday, March 31 between 8:30 AM and 3:30 PM. Admission is free, although seating is limited to 200.
I mention this because one of the topics will be Civil War Crimean Ovens, presented by Wally Owen, Assistant Director of the Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site (which was itself within spitting distance of my hotel).
I have always been interested in military technology and this method of heating large tents and living spaces without endangering the occupants with carbon monoxide poisoning seemed interesting to me. Offered for what it is worth.


Dedicated_Dad said...

Excellent idea - I see something similar used in "thermal mass heaters" that just use a big pile of rock, brick or cob with a snakey-chimney to capture as much heat as possible.

One question though: how does this NOT endanger the occupants with CO? If flue gases escape the trench, then....??!!

Happy D said...

Thanks for sharing.

pdxr13 said...

By having the burning part inside the shelter, you get ventilation. The Crimean tent heater is a low-efficiency version of the RMH as described by Evans/Jackson.

I'm sure that the tents over the crimean heaters were "ventilated" pretty well, and they did their best to make the chimney tight to optimize chimney effect as well as minimize smoke in the tent.

A big advantage of the external fire pit is that officers keep warm while enlisted people keep the fire burning. Busy enlisted people don't think so much and cause less trouble.