On Wednesday, June 3, 2015, Constitution‘s late 19th-century galley stove, also known as a “camboose,” was removed from the forward gun deck in preparation for the stove’s de-leading and repairs.

Late 19th century "camboose," or galley stove, being lifted out through the main hatch, June 3, 2015. [Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston]
Late 19th century “camboose,” or galley stove, being lifted out through the main hatch, June 3, 2015. [Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston]
The iron stove was probably installed in the 1872-1877 rebuild in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Used when Constitution sailed to France carrying the United States exhibits for the Exposition Universalle in Paris from 1878-79 and later when she sailed as a training ship until 1881, it was the operational galley stove for all meals on board.

When photographed by Thomas E. Marr in the late 19th century, Constitution‘s galley stove exhibited a multiplicity of ovens, burners, and damper vents. At the time it was installed, this would have been a modern ship’s stove capable of cooking enough meals to feed several hundred men daily.

Early 20th century photo of the galley stove, by Thomas E. Marr. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
Photo of the galley stove taken between 1897 and 1905 by Thomas E. Marr. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
In the 1906-1907 restoration of Constitution, the 1870s galley stove was altered to better represent a stove from the era of the War of 1812. As seen in the photograph below, the multiple burners have been cut away and a replica triangular hood has been installed.

View of Constitution's galley stove on the gun dick after the ship's 1906-1907 restoration. [Courtesy MIT]
View of Constitution‘s galley stove on the gun dick after the ship’s 1906-1907 restoration. [Courtesy MIT]
This photo shows further adaptation of the stove with the installation of the grating in the “hearth”. This was all in an attempt to make the stove look more historically accurate to the early 19th century.

The galley stove, August 18, 1914. [Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston]
The galley stove, August 18, 1914. [Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston]
In the photo below, showing the back of the stove, the built-in boilers are located above the two circular ports in center of the back panel. The boilers are where water could be heated or stews could be made.

The galley stove, March 8, 1925. [Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston]
The galley stove, March 8, 1925. [Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston]
For Constitution‘s National Cruise of 1931-1934, a modern cast-iron Shipmate stove was installed in the “hearth” end of the stove to feed the 81 officers, Marines, and sailors on board.

The galley stove during Constitution's National Cruise, ca. 1931. [Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston]
The galley stove during Constitution‘s National Cruise, ca. 1931. [Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston]
That same stove has been exhibited aboard Constitution. In the 1974 restoration, the Shipmate stove from the National Cruise was removed and the black and white crane arm, visible in the photo below, was installed. There it stayed, as seen below, until it’s removal in June 2015 for repairs.

"Hearth" end of Constitution's late-19th century galley stove. [Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston]
“Hearth” end of Constitution’s late-19th century galley stove. [Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston]
On June 3, 2015, the stove, weighing 5,300 pounds, was hoisted by crane through the main hatch and lowered onto Pier 2 in the Charlestown Navy Yard.

The "camboose," weighing 5,300 pounds, is lowered onto Pier 2, June 3, 2015. [Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston]
The “camboose” is lowered onto Pier 2, June 3, 2015. [Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston]
The stove was transported to the Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston facilities adjacent to Dry Dock 1, where it currently sits awaiting repairs.

Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston staff secure the galley stove, June 3, 2015. [Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston]
Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston staff secure the galley stove on Pier 2, June 3, 2015. [Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston]

 – M. M. Desy & K. Monea

The Author(s)

USS Constitution Museum
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