What Is a Sheep Wagon Stove?


Quick Answer

A sheep wagon stove was a small iron device that provided heat and cooking for people living in sheep wagons. It stood about two feet high, taking up two square feet. The chimney ran about six inches long, traveling through a guard in the roof to take away the smoke.

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Full Answer

These stoves were common during the Great Depression, when the foreclosure crisis hit the Dust Bowl, and many families were kicked off their farmland and had to subsist in places like sheep wagons. People working large acreages of sheep pasture also used these stoves when they were sleeping out on the land. These stoves burned coal, wood or a substance derisively called "Hoover coal." This was actually dried cow manure, and while the manure would burn just as well as wood or coal, it was strictly an emergency fuel because of the awful odor it sent throughout the wagon.

"Hoover coal" took its name from President Herbert Hoover, who took a great deal of the blame for the terrible state of the American economy during the early 1930s. For those who could afford (or find) actual coal, just one lump lasted a long time and produced a lot of heat, particularly with the door left open.

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