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Cape Cod Stovepipe Hole

Everyone knows what a thimble is, but besides the most familiar meaning there is also that of a covering for a stovepipe hole in a wall. Every parlor wall used to have a thimble where the “airtight” or parlor heater was attached to the chimney in winter. Modern home heating has changed all that.

Back when homes had parlors, there were these thimbles, and generally they were decorated with homely or pastoral scenes. One I recall showed a Pilgrim trudging homeward in the snow, and another that featured sheep grazing in a pasture. When I was growing up, some of my friends lived in old houses that had these decorated thimbles. The ones I remember were made of tin.

These thimbles must have come in mostly after fireplaces were closed up. Before that, fireboards were put in front of the fireplaces for the summer, and some of them were decorated, usually with wallpaper.

Thimbles were papered, too, and not necessarily to match the walls. When the original picture became stained, as it often did when rain trickled down the chimney, any interesting spare piece of wallpaper was used to freshen it.

The old builders were apt to put chimney connections in unexpected places, perhaps under a shelf in the dining room or near a corner instead of in the center of some wall. Wherever they were, thimbles took care of them for as long as they were out of use.

Some old-fashioned appliances are no longer obtainable in the market, but these caps for stovepipe holes may still be purchased, and the art is the same as it used to be.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 02/28/06
Categories: Houses
Keywords: architecture, cape cod house


You say you can still buy thimbles, which serves as a cap for stovepipe holes.
I need two of these. I am hoping you can tell me where to buy them.

Posted by linda cleeves from michigan on 07/14/08 at 04:30 PM | #

Your best bet would be antique shops or maybe online auctions. I have seen a few of them over the years, but I could not tell you where to get one today. It would probably require some hunting around. Good luck.

Posted by Cape Cod from Cape Cod, Massachusetts on 07/15/08 at 12:06 AM | #

Are the “thimbles” you are describing round, like a pie plate and fluted on the edges..?
I just bought a repo of one that was sold at some point at an Ace Hardware store, but was now in a pile of junk at a yard sale in southwest GA. It has a “scene” in the center of a redbarn in a winter landscape.

Posted by Judy Huskey from Scaly Mtn, NC on 11/11/08 at 02:17 AM | #

“like a pie plate and fluted on the edges…?”

Yes, they ususally have some sort of spring steel on the inside part that expands to hold the thimble in place.

Posted by Cape Cod from Cape Cod, Massachusetts on 12/16/08 at 10:07 PM | #

I cannot seem to find the thimble covers to buy any.  I know there is one in the old house that covers one hole in the chimney with a pic of a lady in a bonnet.  It is wallpapered over.  Any idea what the estimated value is of one of these things?

Posted by Angie from Britton SD on 07/23/09 at 03:41 PM | #

go online to Red Hills General Store… just google it, I can’t get the link to copy and paste. It’s in Red Hills, VA

they have them in two sizes, just almost like the one I bought… $8-9 plus shipping.

If you don’t want them all alike,  just poke around on google some more and I am sure you’ll turn them up… try “flue covers” for an alternate search..

Good luck

Posted by Judy Huskey from Scaly Mtn, NC on 07/23/09 at 11:58 PM | #

I was online looking for these and here is a place you may want to check.

Red Hill General Store

Posted by Elizabeth from Seaforth, ON on 10/07/09 at 08:31 PM | #

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