Keeping the home warm in the late 1800′s was a full time job. If you were lucky you had coal delivered then spent hours shoveling it into your furnace. If you weren’t so lucky you had to cut down trees, split wood, let it season, and feed the iron stoves in each room that needed heat . The stove was the gathering spot and focal point in the home, always being cared for, keeping the family warm and fed with hot food.
Some stoves were decorated with tiles inset into cast iron frames. The ceramic nature of the tiles lent itself perfectly to the use in stoves. They could be colorful and remain durable, impervious to the intense heat to which they were exposed. Often the images on the tiles depicted portraits, some dressed in warm winter clothes. Other common images were people tending to fires or gathering kindling.
How can you tell the difference between an antique stove tile and other antique tiles? Stove tiles commonly have a small flattened rim surrounding tile. This acted as a flange to hold the tile into the frame. They also commonly have an arched cutout in this rim which most likely helped in setting tile.
You can find these tiles and more for sale at BungalowBILL.com