The Detroit Jewel captures an automotive guy’s heart

Born and raised in Detroit in a very automotive-focused family, Wally is a tinkerer of mechanical things and a dabbler in cooking. Having just purchased a new stove from a world- renown appliance company in Michigan, this little jewel from Detroit caught his eye. He had no idea that Detroit had a rich history in stoves. He wonders if Henry Ford or the Dodge Brothers had one of these jewels in their homes.

A trip down Jefferson can find some amazing things. On Jefferson in Grand Rapids, the old museum still stands with old jewels inside. In it there’s a Detroit Jewel that could’ve been made on Jefferson in Detroit.

Before it was known for autos in the 1880s, Detroit was known for its stoves.

Founded in 1864, incorporated in 1866 and reincorporated in 1907 as Detroit Stove Works, this closely held public corporation was, in 1920, manufacturing stoves and furnaces in Detroit under the “Jewel” name.

W. T. Barbour was president and J. A. Fry served as secretary and general manager; later they advanced to chairman and president, respectively. In 1923, the company acquired Art Stove Co. and in 1925 added Michigan Stove Co. to the family. They then changed the corporate name to Detroit-Michigan Stove Co. In 1927 the company placed a giant, 30-ton replica of an old-fashioned kitchen range on the roof of its factory near the approach to Detroit’s Belle Isle Bridge. Originally built for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, this replica was billed as the largest stove in the world.

1926 was Detroit-Michigan Stove’s best year for a long time, with net sales of $8.1 million. Detroit-Michigan Stove raised its revenues considerably by acquiring A-B Stoves, Inc. of Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1945. It also added a metal-fabricating division that turned out parts for automotive and other manufacturers. By mid-century, the company’s Detroit plant consisted of 23 buildings and its products included electric as well as gas ranges for homes. Welbilt Stove acquired Detroit-Michigan Stove in 1955.

Getting back to this little gem… She is a gas-powered beauty that has been able to keep her shine. Her older years are treating her well as she waits to be on display. I’m not sure of her history, but by the looks of her, she was a very well kept gal. She probably was installed in only the best kitchen somewhere in the Grand Rapids area. I’m betting some furniture baron’s lady was given this beauty.

Baking bread and wonderful cookies were the smells that filled the home. And on cold winter days, she provided warmth to the kitchen and the rooms above. Just imagine waking up to the aroma of fresh bread in the morning while the eggs and coffee were heating on the stove.

When her wraps come off, I see a bright and warm future for this Detroit Jewel. She’ll proudly display and show her shiny white shell for all to admire.