Antique Pot Belly Stove: Identification And Value Guide

A pot belly stove is an antique stove shaped like a bellows. Its name comes from the shape it takes when standing on its side with its flat sides facing you.

An antique pot belly stove also had a curved hourglass shape on top, curved down towards you.

If you are searching for an antique pot belly stove and want to know everything about antique pot belly stoves, then keep reading.

This guide is about antique pot belly stoves, their value, pot belly stove identification, and much more you need to know about pot belly wood stoves.

What Is Antique Pot Belly Stove?

The antique pot belly stove is most commonly associated with the American Frontier and rural areas of the Appalachian Region.

With little need for extra cooking space, pot belly stoves had less mass than other stoves with greater thermal output and more freely traveled to America’s newly-settled frontiers.

They also tended to be cheaper and more efficient, as money was often tight for people living in rural areas.

Pot belly stoves were once ordinary throughout American households but declined in popularity over time as gas and electric appliances became available.

Today, they are most commonly found on display or used at historic sites or re-enactments. Their lower-end design and smaller size make for ideal camping and hiking stoves.

The pot belly stove is characterized by a wide, shallow firebox with two smaller “bellies” on top of the broader box. These bellies direct the flames into a concave chamber containing the fuel.

Potbelly stoves are stoves that use wood to burn. It is a stove that looks like a giant cylinder with a chimney sticking out of the top and is often filled with black ash or charcoal.

The chimney produces heat faster to make the stove more efficient. It is also used for ventilation, ensuring the smoke from the stove does not cause a problem in your home.

The complete chimney can be even more significant than the stove itself; it all depends on how much heat you want from your chimney. Depending on the manufacturer, the chimney can be crafted out of clay or metal.

This particular design of pot belly stove has three effects:

  1. First, it provides superior heat transfer into the chamber.
  2. Second, the design allows for very efficient air circulation around the fire at a much lower temperature than in an open fireplace.
  3. And third, it creates very little smoke. The result is a highly efficient and fuel-efficient stove.

Over time, these stoves have become increasingly popular with homeowners as they can save on heating costs during cold weather or in older homes that do not have centrally heated areas.

With some models, you can even turn off your central furnace using this heater to save on fossil fuel costs over time.

How Does An Antique Pot Belly Stove Work?

An antique pot belly stove had a firebox, which heated air inside the stove to help heat water in the kitchen.

The air heated the water by radiation instead of by electrical heating elements. It’s still a very efficient way to heat water!

If you have an antique pot belly stove that isn’t working, there are a few things you can try to get it back on track.

An antique pot belly stove also had, of course, a firebox. The firebox is the part that holds the wood and burns it to create heat. Antique pot belly stoves used wood as fuel before they switched to coal or oil.

While most newer stoves have glass on top of the firebox to let you watch the flames, older models didn’t have glass panes at all!

Brief History Of Pot Belly Stove

The history of pot belly stoves goes back to the old time when blacksmiths used to forge metal together to create them.

Pot belly stoves became quite common in 18th century America. Then later developed into a wood-burning stove that could hold as much wood as possible.

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They became trendy in the Victorian era around 1850. The main reason these stoves became very popular is that, for the first time, it was a cheap way for people to stay warm and cook their food at home.

At the same time, it was a highly energy-efficient way of living and heating.

Various people also used the stoves, including farmers who used them outdoors in their warehouses during the winter.

What Did A Pot Belly Stove Look Like?

The exterior of the stove was usually made of cast iron and had an effortless design. It usually had four legs and a short chimney in the back.

On the inside, there was a hopper that stored coal, and that hopper led to a combustion chamber. The firebox would heat the air in the chamber, then travel through the heat exchanger to heat water for baths or dishes.

Air from the firebox also went into tubes connected to each room in your house. This made the whole house nice and toasty!

The firebox would have holes on one side where the fire would burn and a damper that could turn to control the amount of air that let in.

A pot belly stove’s damper, by the way, is what it’s called when a stove has adjustable air openings. You might recognize some parts of the stove, like the ash pan or door.

The ash door allowed you to get rid of ashes quickly when your small kitchen garbage pail got too full, and it also helped keep ashes from getting all over your floor.

Uses Of Pot Belly Stove

The multitasking antique pot belly stoves were helpful in numerous ways. In the 19th century, the cast iron pot belly stoves were very famous and were useful worldwide.

Potbelly drives were applicable in all circumstances like domestic, recreational, communal, transportation, etc.

Antique pot belly stoves were also usable and popular in Army barracks, shops, schools, public halls, homes, tents, and railway stations.  

High-Quality Materials Used In Pot Belly Stove Manufacture

The materials used in making this device are precious due to their superior quality and durability. The steel used in its manufacturing has the best grade.

It is durable, and you can reuse them for the long term without rusting or tarnishing. It also has great aesthetic appeal and will not make your house look cheap if you use it in a kitchen or dining room area.

The pot belly stove used in this model is of the best-grade steel, and the parts that make it up are also of superior quality materials. The aluminum parts are also durable. They are resistant to corrosion and long-lasting.

Pot Belly Stove Construction

The construction of these stoves is complex because they have different components, such as a wood chamber, an air intake pipe, a wood burner basket, and a firebox.

Each component serves one purpose for the whole stove, so you must put all these components together to make it look nice, neat, and functional. The air intake pipe is designed with brackets that keep it in place while using the stove.

The wood chamber is of high-quality steel. It has holes that go through it to make the wood burn evenly and give a sound heat output.

The metal firebox is made of copper or copper alloy. This metal plays a vital role in the self-cleaning process of its combustion chamber.

Pot Belly Stove Maintenance

The stove is easy to maintain. It has a built-in ash pan that you can use to dispose of ash and soot by pulling a lever. It helps to prevent fire hazards and prolongs the life of the product.

What Is the Antique Pot Belly Stove Value?

The antique pot belly stove is a trendy stove that has been around since the 1830s. While it is not as common as other stoves, it is still a common sight in older homes and barns.

The antique pot belly stove’s value can vary significantly depending on its condition, size, type of wood used for the firebox and oven, etc.

The value of the antique pot belly stove can range from $100 to $1000 or more. Prices for these stoves typically range from $100 to $2,500, depending on the item’s condition.

the antique pot belly stove
Antique Keeley Belle 10 potbelly stove Very Clean Worth: $750.00 Source: eBay

If you have an antique pot belly stove that you believe is worth a good amount of money, you can either sell it or display it in your home to show off your style.

Anyone who has looked at an old pot belly stove would agree that they look unique and are one-of-a-kind pieces.

antique pot belly stove
Decent Antique Foster’s Stove Co. No 16 Pot Belly Stove Worth: $465.00 Source: eBay

The style of antique stoves can also vary widely from one state to the next, especially with the different wood types used.

In some circumstances, you will find that the price will significantly depend on what type of wood was used to build it and whether or not it came in a painted or intricately carved form.

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If you are willing to sell your antique pot belly stove, you should have no trouble finding a buyer.

How Much Is An Old Pot Belly Stove Worth?

An old pot belly stove is an excellent piece of history. These old potbelly stoves were trendy when they were introduced in the 1930s to improve the old cast iron design, and some are very valuable today.

However, determining the value of an old stove is difficult. Several factors determine the value of a pot belly stove, including age, condition, originality of design, and size.

If you have an old stove, you should first figure out the make and model number. You can now research the value of your model number online or by calling antique dealers in your area.

If it looks like a company makes it, it should be easier for you to determine value. If you can find a copy of an old catalog showing the original price, it will significantly help you.

It will also help you to know how much other dealers are asking for similar stoves, though they may not be in the same condition as yours.

Pot belly stoves were available in different sizes and features. If your pot belly has legs and its hood is concave, it was a piece before 1890.

It makes them very desirable to antique dealers and collectors. However, if the legs are gone and the stove top has been cut open to make it flat, your stove is no longer valuable.

The condition of an antique pot belly stove determines its price. Some collectors like to have their old appliances restored before selling them so the buyer can pick out what he likes about the stove and get it in as good shape as possible.

Others want the stove to look as original as possible, with no repairs. So if your stove needs repair and you don’t want to restore it yourself, then you can sell it at a discount.

If you put it in an old box or container so that when you show your old appliance at a flea market or similar event, there will be plenty of interest in it.

Factors Affecting the Value Of Pot Belly Stove

A pot belly stove is a traditionally-designed, enclosed stove commonly found in homes that lack natural heating systems.

You can distinguish these stoves by a distinctive bulge at the top of the stove, and they typically gain power with wood.

Here we will look at five factors affecting the value of pot belly stoves: age, brand, condition, fuel type, and location.

We will examine each aspect in detail to help you better understand how it affects your purchase decision and what to consider before buying a stove.

1. Age of Your Stove

The age of your stove is a significant attribute that affects the value of your purchase. If you are searching for an antique stove, you should expect to pay a premium for these stoves because they are older and, therefore, rarer.

Similarly, suppose you are seeking an old-fashioned style stove that has been used in your family for generations.

In that case, it will likely be in a much better condition than newer stoves manufactured using modern-day methods, costing less than their older counterparts.

2. Brand of Your Stove

The brand of your stove will also determine its value and the price you will have to pay for it.

If you buy a stove from a well-known manufacturer, you can generally expect to pay more because these stoves are more readily available.

In contrast, purchasing an antique or used pot belly stove from an unknown brand will most likely be less expensive than its branded counterpart.

3. Condition of Your Stove

A stove in good condition will always cost more than a stove in lousy condition because these stoves are easier and safer to use.

Even though you might think that this stove is in good condition and ready to use, you should always inspect it before putting any fuel into it because an older, better-quality stove is still available for sale.

4. Fuel Type of Your Stove

The fuel type of your stove will also affect the price you pay for it, as these stoves are more expensive when they use wood as their primary source of heat.

On the other hand, a stove with a more modern fuel source will cost less than a stove with a traditional fuel supply.

5. Location of Your Stove

Consider the location of your stove if you want to get the best value for your money. To buy a stove in your area, you must look for one within easy reach.

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However, if you are looking for stoves from different states or countries, you may need to pay more for shipping to deliver them on time.

Tips To Keep In Mind While Purchasing An Antique Pot Belly Stove

  1. It is essential to inspect a used pot belly stove carefully before purchasing. A seller might try to pass off a stove in lousy condition as one in good condition using the excuse that it needs only minor repairs and maintenance.

If you want your stove to last longer and function smoothly, you should invest in a new stove with all the necessary safety features.

  1. If you want to get the best value for your money, you will need to compromise on the condition of your stove. While you might prefer buying a brand new stove in excellent working condition, you will have to settle for a second-hand one if that is all available.

Even though it might not be as efficient or safe as a brand new stove, it should still be better than getting one from an unknown manufacturer or buying an antique pot belly stove with no safety features.

  1. To buy a stove online, you must be very careful about the seller and their business terms. If possible, you should visit the seller directly to avoid getting ripped off or buying a stove that is not as advertised.

Besides scrutinizing it, you should also ask for a detailed receipt and look for any guarantees or warranties the manufacturer offers before purchasing.

  1. It might also be wise to buy two stoves in case one of them is damaged on your way home from the store.

It will ensure that you have an alternative to fall back on and won’t need to waste time looking for another stove in case one of them is defective or damaged.

  1. It might also be wise to have an insurance policy on your stove because the actual value of a stove can be very deceiving, depending on the model and condition.

How to Identify A Pot Belly Stove?

A pot belly wood stove can add a touch of old-fashioned charm to your living space. Pot belly stove resembles many other types of wood-burning stoves and cylinder stoves. But what distinguishes the antique pot belly stove from them is its barrel-shaped burn pot.

So if you have an old pot belly stove and want to know whether it’s an antique pot belly stove, then some characteristics help you to identify the pot belly stove.

Material: Steel is commonly used in the modern versions of pot belly stoves, but antique stoves are made of cast iron. The two doors of the pot belly stove are of cast iron.

Hence, if your stove is cast iron, it is an antique pot belly stove.

Exhaust Pipe

A genuine antique potbelly stove has exhaust pipes. These pipes are wide and black and extend upward from the top cook plate. But some exhaust pipes are placed on the side of the burn pot.


The Center section is the main distinguishing characteristic of an antique pot belly stove. A potbelly stove differs from antique cylinder stoves because its center rounds out from a narrow bottom and top.

There is also a rim around the center and a barrel-shaped section, known as a skirt rail. Some skirt rails resemble small trim, while others have intricate designs and can hold a variety of cooking utensils.

Flat Top

Potbelly stoves were helpful in both cooking and heating. And to create a hot cooking surface, the top of the stove should be flat. Some potbelly stoves have domes that you can lift to reveal flat cooktops.

The flat cooking area is usually comprehensive, flaring out almost as large as the center of the potbelly burn pot. So look up to these characters and find out if your pot belly stove is vintage.


There are many different styles of antique potbelly stoves from which you can choose of your liking. The style and the detail will vary depending on the age and size of your stove.

Many antique pot belly stoves made in America have a more pronounced curvature at the top, while Victorian-era stoves have a more fluid curve.

So choose wisely according to your preference and enjoy the ambiance of these antique pot belly stoves!

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