The Stove Found on the First Floor

A company called C. Portway and Son, started making cast iron stoves in the 1830’s. A Charles Portway had an ironmongery store in Halstead, Essex, and manufactured a stove to heat it. Neighbours wanted similar, so he set up a foundry to manufacture them. 

The stoves were very efficient as they burnt fuel slowly, giving out maximum heat. The company named them Tortoise Stoves and the foundry was known as the Tortoise Stove Works. 

They manufactured a number of models over the years with different styles and sizes right up to the early twentieth century. The date of this particular stove is indeterminate at the moment, however the base and ash tray designs were registered in April 1868, so these must be from or after this date.

The top of the stove shows a tortoise and their motto “Slow but sure” with the word “Combustion” below this.

At some time there has been a repair, replacing the ash door at the bottom using a part manufactured by another company. This was by the Carron Company at Falkirk. 

The centre of it shows their logo of three crossed cannons, with six cannonballs below, all surmounted by a Phoenix, with their motto “Esto Perpetua”, (loosely translated as ‘may it last forever’). Below this is the date of the founding of the company, 1759.

On each side of this is a diamond registration mark which was used after the ‘1842 Ornamental Design Act’. This can be interpreted by the various marks within it. The central ‘Rd’ merely stands for Registered Design. The ‘I’ at the top refers to the material used, in this case obviously metal. The ‘17’ below this, the ‘R’ at the bottom and the ‘L’ to the right make up the date of registration: R referring to August and L to 1882, making 17th August 1882. This is not the date of manufacture but the date of registration of the design. The registered design probably referred to the complete stove of a similar style, from which this part was taken as a replacement. This system of registration ceased in 1884.

The fender with it has a registration number from July 1844.

The photographs, by Trevor Darke, were taken before cleaning and repainting.