While reading an article in the Alaska Magazine yesterday, I came upon a reference to Russian wood stoves (Pechka) that were commonly used to heat the typical Russian cabin. The stoves were efficient, comfortable and made from local materials.
I researched the matter more and came upon this beautiful description.
The Masonry Stove
"To the uninstructed stranger it promises nothing. It has a little bit of a door. Which seems foolishly out of proportion to the rest of the edifice. Small sized fuel it used, and marvelously little of that. The process of firing is quick and simple. At half past seven on a cold morning the servant brings a small basketball of slender pine sticks and puts half of these in, lights them with a match, and closes the door. They burn out in ten or twelve minutes. He then puts in the rest and locks the door...The work is done.
All day long and until past midnight all parts of the room will be delightfully warm and comfortable...it's surface is not hot; you can put your hand on it anywhere and not get burnt.
Consider these things. One firing is enough for the day; the cost is next to nothing; the heat produced is the same all day, instead of too hot and too cold by turns.
America could adopt this stove, but does America do it? No, she sticks placidly to her own fearful and wonderful inventions in the stove line. The American wood stove, of whatever breed, is a terror. It requires more attention than a baby. It has to be fed every little while, it has to be watched all the time; and for all reward you are roasted half your time and frozen the other half... and when your wood bill comes in you think you have been supporting a volcano.
It is certainly strange that useful customs and devices do not spread from country to country with more facility and promptness than they do.
By Mark Twain"
I'm curious to know if anyone on Home Energy Pros is familiar with these wood stoves and would care to post their thoughts and experience.