I've come across a beautiful art nouveau stove by Deville & Cie of Charleville, France, prob. enameled iron in a beautiful green, around 1900-1930 (lay guesstimate)

Is there a way to test for toxic arsenic colors like Scheele's green / Schweinfurt green / emerald green / Vienna green that doesn't require a chemistry kit? (Maybe an affordable finished test kit?)

Does anyone have knowledge either concerning old stoves (different paints for heat resistance?), concerning the manufacturer (known or allowed to use) or enamel coloring in that regard?

Is it generally (not) recommendable to put an object of that period in a sleeping / living area because of various toxic substances used during that period? Especially in a cat household, which might sleep on it and then lick himself clean.

PS: As a new member (on this exchange), I couldn't create the tags "enamel" or "toxic", maybe someone wants to do that.

  • 2
    will it still off-gas toxic fumes? or will you be licking it?
    – Solar Mike
    Nov 10, 2023 at 16:00
  • As for the licking, that would mostly affect my cat which might sleep on it and then clean himself. As for the fumes, I don't know. The vendor is 90km from me, if there are enough reasons against it up front, I won't drive that far Nov 10, 2023 at 16:13
  • 3
    How many times do you think it has got hot since 1930? or 1900? Off-gassing decreases over time and heat / cool cycles.
    – Solar Mike
    Nov 10, 2023 at 16:16
  • 1
    There seems to be a concern with using wallpaper that has it, but an enamel stove that is not used for heating/cooking, the toxic stuff should be sealed in(if the paint is in good condition, not flaking off). A clear coat should increase the safety.
    – crip659
    Nov 10, 2023 at 16:17

1 Answer 1


If it is indeed enameled (in the manner suitable for stoves, rather than "paint called enamel paint") it is part of a thin layer of glass, melted on the surface of the iron, making it essentially inert.

  • But enamel means the transparent glass is mixed with coloring pigments, not poured over the colored layer, so, if the pigment was toxic and it is everywhere within the glass, there would some percentage actually be on the surface of the glass Nov 13, 2023 at 8:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.