This fireback pays homage to all the benefits we receive from trees, and the oak in particular as a symbol of strength and durability. Following a tradition observed in old firebacks and stove plates, the Dated Great Oak is cast with its production year in the lower panel. Each calendar year's date is available in the new year and available through the year while supplies last.
Apart from seeing firebacks in historic house museums as a young boy, the artist was later inspired to reintroduce this art form, and practical device, while still in art school and visiting the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The Mercer Museum which traces the preindustrial history of life in America contains the largest collection of firebacks and stove plates in the United States.
The Dated Great Oak fireback was the second of two designs created for the first year of original fireback production in 1979. Wishing to continue this tradition rather than be contented with copying from the past, artist J. Del Conner created the Great Oak Fireback without a historic fireback counter part. As such, this fireback was the first new fireback offered to the American public in a very, very long time.