Maine Wood Heat History

about_bardens2In 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!

Hot Facts About MWH

Longest distance traveled for an oven install: Hawaii

Featured article in Popular Mechanics

The farthest we’ve shipped one of our ovens: Fairbanks, Alaska

Pizzeria Lola/Ann Kim and her copper topped MWH oven make the top 20 list of best pizza places in the world.

Longest boat ride for an Albiecore to its new home: Melbourne, Australia

2 = the number of times one of our ovens has been on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives

Longest plane ride for a masonry heater build: New Zealand

Young Joni/Ann Kim and a trio of MWH ovens voted one of GQ’s Best New Restaurants in America 2017” 

Won “Most Informative” booth in the Energy and Shelter section at the Common Ground Country Fair in 2016.

Just to name a few….

Click on members of the Maine Wood Heat team below to view their bio.

Albie Barden

Founder & Co-Owner, Master Heater & Oven Builder

Cheryl Barden Kemper

Founder & Co-Owner

Scott Barden

Co-Owner, Master Heater & Oven Builder

Anna Barden

Dana Tessier

Nate Pooler

Mike Soucier

Ben Wehry

Garrett Veinotte

A few shots of MWH team, friends, + family at work + play! 

Ben & Nate Building a 180 Core

Scott Welding

Our ovens make great photo backdrops!

Albie enjoying lunch

Cheryl & Cate at the Kneading Conference

Albie & Anna Onsite

Some of MWH Crew @ Bigelow Brewing

Dana + Bacon!

Calla snuggled up to the heater

Albie building core

Cate Conway, chef extraordinaire!

Scott sawing soapstone

Ollie In Oven

Anna Barden @ Common Ground Country Fair

Calder Barden, all smiles!