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  • image XF389
Patent kitchen range, XF389, by Thomas Deakin, London, 1812-13, cast iron. ©Sir John Soane's Museum, London. Photograph: Gareth Gardner.

Patent kitchen range by Thomas Deakin, London, 1812-13

Cast iron

Museum number: XF389

Curatorial note

In the centre is a grate for a coal-fuelled open fire; to the left a baking oven and to the right a boiler used for heating water for cooking and laundry; the top of both oven and boiler provided a hot plate for cooking with saucepans. A small platform behind the grate was an extra hot-plate. The top of the boiler section has an iron disc which could be removed for cold water to be added thus providing the option of ‘steam’ cooking. This disc has a shallow channel around the edge which could be filled with water to create a seal when steaming was not required. A small tap at the front of the range allowed hot water to be drawn off for a variety of purposes. There are small brass drop handles to the hot water tap and the small doors on either side of the range.

The original unit as patented by Deakin has in this example been extended with extra sections on both sides: to the left there is an additional hot-plate surface with its own heat source in the form of a small cavity below the plate into which hot coals could be placed; on the right the extra section was probably another extra hot plate and has an iron disc in the centre which was probably used for dishes that required a different intensity of heat than the rest of the hotplate could provide.

The range is marked in embossed lettering DEAKIN INVENTOR AND PATENTEE LONDON with crests on the doors of the oven and boiler (these seemingly royal crests probably relate to the patent).

This closed range was installed when Soane rebuilt the front part of No. 13 in 1812-13 and is one of the earliest known patent ranges to survive anywhere.

Thomas Deakin patented his range in 1811, just a year before Soane installed this example, using a design that could boast greater efficiency than found in earlier ranges, with a chimney-mounted register controlling air-flow to enable better temperature regulation.1

Soane’s range was probably not supplied by Deakin himself, although his premises were fairly nearby: there is no bill in the Soane archive from him. At least one of the two kitchen ranges in No. 13 was made and supplied by Soane’s regular ironmonger, H.J. & E Cutler, in August 1813. It seems likely that Cutler made this back kitchen range to Deakin’s pattern, adding the extra sections at the sides.

Soane’s choice of this range provided his kitchens with the very latest cooking equipment.

1 Patent no. 3427 dated 1 April 1811 for ‘An improvement in kitchen ranges and stoves, and in the mode of setting the same’. Deakin registered further patents in 1815 and 1816. He is first recorded trading in 1799 in St. John’s Street but by 1816 was in St. John’s Street and Ludgate Hill, trading as ‘Deakin, Wilmshurst & Co., Manufacturing & Furnishing Ironmongers’. In 1820 he is listed in trade directories trading as ‘Deakin & Eve’ or ‘Eve and Deakin’ and he is last mentioned in 1829.

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk