In 1978 Albie and Cheryl traveled through Europe and Scandavia with their infant son, Scott, on their backs. Our purpose was to research the masonry heater and oven traditions of various countries, searching for the design that could most readily be adapted to the New England Colonial red brick open fireplace heritage. In Finland they found a vibrant tradition of red brick cookstoves, masonry heaters and ovens, along with readily available high quality cast iron heater hardware, specialized mortars, technical literature and construction instruction–a perfect fit.
In 1979 Albie made a second trip to Finland and became a lifetime partner with the Finnish castings company now called Narvi Oy. He also began a lifelong friendship with one of Finland’s chief masonry heater researchers and writers, Heikki Hyytiainen, with whom he would eventually co-author a book, Finnish Fireplaces: Heart of the Home. Bringing and adapting the Finnish and European masonry heater tradition to the States became Albie and Cheryl’s life work. Now, 30 years on, their son Scott has joined the business as a full partner and is raising his own young children in a culture their family helped to create. Their daughter Anna has now also joined the business and completes what our vision included in the meaning of a family business.
In addition to designing and building heaters throughout the United States and importing masonry heater hardware from Finland, Albie began teaching hands-on workshops in masonry heater construction in 1978. He has also written several manuals on Finnish and Russian Fireplace and Cookstove construction.
About twenty one years ago, Albie decided to add wood fired ovens to the products and services that the Maine Wood Heat Company offers. In France he found Le Panyol, a family-owned business that has been producing artisan crafted 100% organic wood fired ovens since 1840. Maine Wood Heat became Le Panyol’s North American partner and importer, selling and installing wood fired ovens in homes, bakeries and restaurants from coast to coast.
As interest in renewable energy and local food grows, so does our company. We are a home grown family business, and we love what we do!