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What are Vermont soapstone stoves?

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Quick Answer

Vermont soapstone stoves are stoves made in Vermont from soapstone slabs fitted into cast iron frames. The Vermont Wood Stove Company manufactures such stoves, as does Vermont-based HearthStone.

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Full Answer

Soapstone or steatite is a metamorphic rock composed primarily of talc. It is a relatively soft stone and easy to work, though its hardness varies with its exact composition. It is prized by stove makers because of its ability to absorb, hold and gently radiate heat, and endure direct flames indefinitely. These properties allow soapstone to be used to form the firebox of a wood or gas stove without any other substance as insulation on the inside or outside.

Soapstone stoves are desirable because they can radiate heat for hours once a fire has been established inside; however, they have a lower outside surface temperature than iron or steel, making them safer than other stoves for households with young children. Their ability to hold heat allows them to maintain live coals inside even when the fire cannot be tended for hours. This means owners do not have to rekindle the fire to keep the heat going as often. Soapstone stoves are also decorative because of the natural veining and patterns in the stone, which can be used to create a variety of designs.

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