A few years ago my friend, Jesse Ellerbroek of Black Lantern Studios, and I extracted two kilns from a basement in southern Minnesota. They were free if we could get them out of the basement. Seeing as they are built like tanks we paid plenty in hard work. Both kilns are of a bygone era. This one has a square top and Jesse's has more rounded corners. The walls are lined with very thick fire brick and the electric elements sit comfortably in a channel within the brick. The closest image I can find on the internet is this 1950s advertisement.
A kiln is a means to produce contained heat ranging from around 1400 degrees Fahrenheit for glass slumping up to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit for stoneware ceramics. I'm looking forward to producing ceramic sculpture and a little wheel work. Who knows what a new tool like this will yield?
I didn't have space for a kiln when we originally moved them. So they've sat in the Black Lantern Studio for years. Now that my studio is in a fairly resolved state I have space for the kiln. When we loaded the kiln on a trailer to drive it home I decided to lift the lid and peek inside. The first thing I noticed was about 10 inches of acorns and some paper bags with parts inside. Acorns? Then the mice started scurrying. When it was all over there were 3 dead mice and 4-6 survivors hiding who knows where. You can see a smashed brick on the top rim of the kiln where Jesse disposed of one rodent. They must have climbed in the port holes and had a great home for a while. Later, as I scooped out acorns, etc. I was thinking about how good it was for those mice for so long and how bad it got so quickly.