Rundlet-May House

The Rumford Kitchen

The Rundlet-May kitchen is one of just a handful of intact Rumford kitchens in the country and includes a Rumford roaster, fireplace, and range.

The Rumford 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.

On the other side of the Rumford fireplace is a range with a series of three fires, above each of which a pot or stew-pan fitted into a circular, iron-rimmed opening. The heat of each fire could be separately regulated by varying the draught through its ash-pit door and the smoke was carried away by flues leading through the brickwork to the main chimney.