Tuesday, November 6, 2012

History of the Fireplace

Fireplaces have been around since the invention of fire. They were originally found in caves, but with no chimneys or ventilation. Evidence of man-made prehistoric fires exist on all five continents.

Fireplace grates came into play around 1678 when Prince Rupert raised the grate of the fireplace which improved the airflow and venting system.

The fireplace as we think of it today really came about during the Victorian Era. The main design of the fireplace really hasn't changed that much since those times, they consist of two main elements: the surround and the insert.

There are many accessories for fireplaces today; grates, fire screens which originated as a form of furniture that was a shield between people and the fireplace. Fire screens help protect the room from open flames and flying embers. Andirons hold up the fire wood so that air can more easily pass around it, the Italian Renaissance saw the andiron go from plain to more decorative works of art.  The fireback was first seen in the 1500s, these tools help to hold the heat and project it back into the room instead of allowing it to be lost up the chimney. Fire irons or fire pokers have been used with fires since the paleolithic period, these allow you to stir up the fire. Bellows help to get a fire started by give blasts of air to feed the fire. These are just a sampling of the tools and accessories that can be used with a fireplace.


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