The paper describes an accurate method developed by Krupp Koppers for calculating stresses in the central areas of coke oven heating walls. The results of this calculation model have provided the following conclusions for the design of coke ovens: 1) a rising pre-stressing of the heating walls caused by the weight of the top deck of the coke oven leads - compared with the stress limits of W. Ahlers - to lower permissible expansion pressures. 2) A given heating wall width has its corresponding maximum feasible oven height. Heating wall width and top deck weight are not interchangeable parameters. 3) The dependence of the permissible expansion pressure on the stretcher brick thickness should not be overlooked. Stretcher brick thicknesses of under 90 mm are not recomended for tall ovens and heavily swelling coal. 4) The capacity of mortar to absorb tensile stresses is ultimately an undesirable property, because the stresses at the points where the mortar is not holding are higher than in a straightforward stretch of brickwork.