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Living room stove from Uetersen , 19th century.

A furnace (from Middle High German oven / oven ) is a device for the controlled generation of heat , mostly by burning firewood or fossil fuels such as gas , oil or coal .

Furnaces exist in different designs and for different applications, from simple domed hearths for baking and heating to the large blast furnaces for producing steel of the industrial age .


There are different types of ovens depending on the application:

Industrial furnaces include processes such as melting , tempering , hardening , tempering , drying and deforming workpieces made of metal , clay, glass and plastic , manufacturing metals (melting processes and powder metallurgy ), manufacturing or treating substances for chemical, paint, wood -, electronics, vehicle and food industries, but also recycling , soil treatment, waste incineration . Alongside the USA and Japan, Germany is the most important manufacturer of industrial furnaces (there are around 270 manufacturers of industrial furnaces in Germany).


Furnace in Hungary
Old tailor's furnace

Room stoves serve as a heat source for rooms, the designs range from simple wood stoves to fireplace or tiled stoves .

After air supply

A distinction is made here between room air-dependent and room air- independent air supply. A room air-dependent fireplace z. B. a ( open fireplace ) draws the oxygen required for combustion from the interior: Operation depends on the air in the room. In contrast, a room air is un -dependent furnace with air or oxygen supplied from the outside. The abbreviation for room air independent is RLU. The terms can be found in Germany in the Firing Ordinance ( FeuVO ).

In older buildings, the shell of the house is made relatively leaky, so that there is enough fresh air for combustion through leaks in the windows. With the airtight construction used today, this fresh air supply is no longer automatically guaranteed. That is why there are room air-independent ovens and firing systems to which the combustion air is fed via pipes or shafts.

According to building material

  • In the woodcutter oven (also known as a Finnish oven, Swedish oven or Siberian oven), a log is provided with a central hole and side air slots. The furnace is burned up in an upright position.
  • The tiled stove made of specially shaped ceramic plates or (in the early modern times) more or less bowl-shaped tiles
  • The clay oven made of clay

According to the type of heat emission

  • A radiant furnace ( basic furnace ) heats its surroundings through the heat that penetrates outside.
  • A hot air oven emits a stream of warm air to the environment. This also includes fan heaters .


  • Anagama are horizontal, single-chamber ovens from ancient East Asia.
  • The Brasero is a mobile stove based on charcoal or charcoal that is still used for cooking in South America, for example in Paraguay.


  • In order to guarantee the safety of a stove, the guild of stove builders SHK recommends a stove check every two to four years.
  • In order to ensure optimal combustion, it is advisable to have a furnace checked every year before the start of winter. This ensures that you can heat efficiently over the winter months.

Construction and operating forms

According to the technique

According to energy source

According to purpose


Furnaces have been documented in Central Europe since the Neolithic ceramic band culture . Kilns for firing ceramics have existed at least since the urn field culture .

Already in Goethe's time there was a shortage of firewood and competitions organized by sovereigns in which fuel-saving stoves were to be invented. The wood gasifier (stove) is a more recent development with the best efficiency or the best energy utilization of domestic wood heating. A wood gasifier with regulated secondary air is able to burn its fuel very cleanly and completely.

Orders from Count Palatine Karl IV. From 1772 also served to prevent a fire in connection with domestic fireplaces. According to the simultaneous building regulations, no more wooden chimneys were allowed to be erected, no more wooden hoses were allowed to be installed, which had to lead the smoke from the fireplace to the fireplace, just as it was forbidden to lead stovepipes out of the window.

See also


  • Jörg Petrasch: Typology and function of Neolithic ovens in Central and Southeastern Europe. In: Acta Praehistorica et Archaeologica. 18, 1986, pp. 33-83.
  • Room stoves. In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon. Volume 20, Leipzig 1909. (online at: zeno.org )

Web links

Wiktionary: Oven  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Ovens  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hermann Kopp: History of Chemistry. I-IV, Braunschweig 1843–1847, reprint Hildesheim 1966, Volume II, p. 20.
  2. ^ Franz-Josef Sehr : The fire extinguishing system in Obertiefenbach from earlier times . In: Yearbook for the Limburg-Weilburg district 1994 . The district committee of the Limburg-Weilburg district, Limburg-Weilburg 1993, p. 151-153 .