Rundlet-May House

Rumford Roaster

Third floor smoke closet (left) is connected to the built in roaster (right) by “smoke canals”

The roaster consisted of a hollow cylinder of sheet iron, set into the brick work of the chimney unit. “Smoke canals” allowed the flames and heat to surround the roaster body providing constant and controlled heat. A drip pan with water collected juices and prevented drippings from burning on the roaster. In addition, the water produced steam, which combined with slow, steady cooking, resulted in a more moist and flavorful roast. A steam tube was used at the end of the roasting process to dry the air within the roaster and brown the meat.

The “smoke canals” were connected to a smoke closet on the third floor in order to smoke meats during the roasting process in the kitchen, thus enabling a more efficient use of fuel.

The kitchen cooking system featured a long counter which lifts off to reveal three individual boilers and a roaster each with its own fire box and ash pit beneath it. This ingenious design maximizes space; the counter can be used for preparation of meats, vegetables from the garden, and other foods to be cooked for the household and guests.