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Sponsored by J.E.S. Enterprises, Inc. for The Old Appliance Club


The Antique Stove Communiqué

 Issue #3

Thermostats for Antique Stoves

What you need to know to have a safe stove.

 Oven Thermostats and Temperature Regulators

 One of the greatest inventions that ever became a part of stove was an oven thermostat. To have an oven that actually would be temperature controlled automatically was revolutionary. Once this type of device went into wide use, a whole new and easier way of cooking arrived for millions and millions of people.


 Early Gas Stoves

 Early stoves were manufactured without oven thermostats. Most of ranges were wood or coal fired way back when. If you have never used a wood or hard coal stove, there is a definite learning curve you will need to acquire. People using modern ranges today have no idea what a real chore cooking used to be.

Early gas ranges did not have any heat regulators or thermostats. Some wood or coal stoves some did have thermometers built into the oven door. This device helped somewhat, however cooking with a primitive stove you still really needed to keep checking and checking to make sure your food was not being incinerated.


Oven Regulators Arrive

Once the first regulators were available for gas ranges most cooks had no idea how to use them. Seeing heat increments imprinted on a dial really didn't mean anything since cooking was never done like that in the past. Because of this, tons of literature had to be published to instruct people how to go about using their "modern range". Food names were also imprinted on the dials to help the cook mesh the heat temperatures with the type of food they were making. With this visual help it became so much easier to see what temperature was best to use to cook a variety of foods. (This is a huge topic in itself to cover. Because we have a finite time to chat about thermostats we need to proceed so you can be helped if you have a bad thermostat. There are back issue of The Old Road Home vintage appliance magazine with good information on this topic. Write to us at if you are interested. Most back issues can still be ordered.)


Thermostat or Regulator Problems

Whether you own an electric stove, a vintage gas stove or an antique gas stove with a failing thermostat there is one general rule that applies most of the time.

If your oven is getting way to hot or not hot enough after you set it to a specific temperature 95% of the time your thermostat or regulator needs rebuilding or replacement. *The 5% allowance being made is if something else might be causing the burner not to ignite. There are a bunch of little problems that can contribute, however if you have an antique stove you can just about bet old age has caught up to it.

DETOUR: Make sure to check the oven burner is not clogged with soot. If it is clean out the burner making sure all holes are open and then retry the oven.

*What NOT to do if your Vintage Stove has a Bad Thermostat

When a 30, 40, 50, 60+ year old thermostat dies or is on the verge of collapse it is time to rebuild it. Through the years it has done an incredible job but like everything else the time comes when it jest ain't got no mo' to give. So what can you do? Most people will try and call their local new appliance dealer to see if they will help. Almost every call will end in disappointment. New appliance tech's really don't want to deal with this. They would rather not invest the time learning "old school" repair. Don't be surprised if you are told to just get rid of it and purchase a new stove. But, the thing is you don't want a new stove. All you want is to have your stove repaired.

 What to do?

 Don't Buy a One Size Fits All Thermostat

Sometimes folks will hire a tech that will take on the thermostat job, but they have no source of original parts so they will use what we call is a 1 Size Fits All. Truthfully that one size doesn't really fit anything like the original. We always suggest NOT to buy the generic replacement  unless there is nothing else available.


Can You Fix Your Own Thermostat at Home?

The simple answer is no. So many people waste incredible amounts of time trying to see if they can solder a broken capillary tube, take parts from one thermostat and try to make another work and much worse ideas. It's just not possible to do this at home. When the thermostat is not working and it's not a good idea to fool around with it. Gas controls can leak and this can causing terrible consequences. If you want to cure the problem once and for all, continue reading on.


The Quickest and Cost Effective Way to Get Cooking Again

The tried and true way to get your oven working again as it should be is to have the original thermostat rebuilt. There is nothing that fits and works better. No cutting, no fitting, no plumbing problems, no nothing but smooth sailing. All parts will remove and reinstall without a hitch. Why? Because it is the original thermostat designed for your stove. Yes, you will need to remove it an install it, but that's the length of it.

*NOTE: It is a very good idea if you are within city limits and have natural gas service to have the gas company come out and check your stove just to make sure the thermostat is really shot. Just about 100% of the time they will not have any parts and will not fix the range (unless you have an insurance policy from them for it) but you will know for sure if the thermostat has failed.


Where To Get Your Antique Thermostats Restored

If you need to get your antique stove thermostat restored here is how to do it. Take several digital pictures of the thermostat in the stove.

Take a picture of the thermostat dial on front of the stove

Remove the dial and bezel behind it. Now take a picture of the front yoke of the thermostat.

Take a picture of the side and back of the thermostat.

All pictures must be clear and large enough to view. Since this is being researched remotely all pictures must be good and clean.

Jot down the model number or lettering on the casing.

Send this information to: That is the email for J.E.S. Enterprises, Inc. Usually we can get back to you either the same day or the following day with solid information and the estimate for the repair or a replacement if one is ready to go that is a match.

New thermostats might carry a 90 day warranty. We offer either a one or two year warranty on all antique thermostats.

If for any reason the old core is not safe enough to rebuild we will let you know and see if we have a matching core like yours. Any questions about your thermostat issues can be directed to: We will try our very best to help solve your thermostat problems so write to us so we can help you.

 DANGER:  Why Buying a "Used" Thermostat is a Poor Idea

 If you are in the market to purchase the same problem you already have then buying a used thermostat is the fastest way to get there.

Used thermostats are just as old inside as they are on the outside. The seals are old and might leak, the capillary tube and thermal bulb are old and will be dying sooner than later. Never be tempted to buy a used thermostat unless nothing else may be available.

There are people out there that know very little about antique thermostats, but that doesn't stop them from selling anything to the unsuspecting. Why pay twice when you can get it done the first time and enjoy great performance as well as great safety!

Just email us at or call 805-643-3532 and send the requested information to us.

Rush Services are available if needed and if we have a matching unit on the shelf we can send it right away!

Don't let a broken thermostat ruin your love for your favorite stove. It can be fixed. And don't forget, they aren't making stoves like they used to anymore. Antique stoves go up in value where new stoves go down.  It's definitely a worthwhile investment and you get to use it every day!

 We hope this third edition of the Antique Stove Communiqué has explained why thermostat rebuilding is so important.

 We’ll see you next time for another issue of the Antique Stove Communiqué!

 Next Issue > Leaking Top Burner Valves


Happy Cooking Stove Pilots!

Jack n' Erika Santoro

J.E.S. Enterprises, Inc. /The Old Appliance Club

Ventura, California - /805-643-3532

P.S. - Why not send us a clear large picture of yourself in front of your range? We will try and post it in one of our upcoming communiqué. If you love your old range now is the time to show it off including yourself at command center. Pictures of your favorite dish are also welcome. Just don't forget we need YOU in the picture as well!

antique stove insulation

(Alana E'Dahlia having fun at the O'Keefe & Merritt Aristocrat range making up a batch of fresh whipped cream. Yummo!)


Happy Cooking Stove Pilots!

Contact us at: or  805-643-3532

Visit us at:  The Old Appliance Club Shop

Alana E'Dahlia

Alana E'Dahlia at the O'Keefe & Merritt Aristocrat range.

P.S. Email a picture of yourself in front of your antique stove and we will try and publish it in the upcoming issues!


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