The Maxwell kitchen was very innovative for its time with many labor-saving devices. Features include hot and cold running water, a bin for flour canisters and open shelves for ready access to kitchen utensils. The cabinets are wood grained to mimic oak; walls are the original paint color as determined by paint analysis. The kitchen was used mostly by the servants and the children, who were expected to be “seen and not heard.”
Coal Stove and Copper Water Heater
Why, since the Mansion was gas lit, was a coal stove used in the kitchen? A late 19th century catalog lists gas-fired washing copper and room heaters, but the cooking ranges were manufactured to use wood or coal as fuel. The cost for gas was much greater than coal and more importantly there was a general reluctance to use gas for cooking due to fear of explosions. The cast iron stove was used for cooking and for heating the water in the copper hot water boiler.
Glass Mason jars invented in 1858 permitted the fruit and vegetables grown in the kitchen garden to be safely preserved for the winter.