When Were Fireplaces Invented?
Our lives these days are pretty convenient, but in ages past, people had to focus on the most basic of basics just to survive. One of those basics was heat, and fire was known to produce plenty of it. The advent of the fireplace made a big, positive difference in the lives of our distant ancestors.
Oliver Twist Chimney & Fireplace of Huntington Beach, CA, would like to share a little about the history of the fireplace.
Fireplaces in the Roman Empire
Based on historical records, it seems that fireplaces began being used in the Roman Empire, which spanned from around 27 B.C. to around 1,400 A.D., depending on the source. Even before that, fire pits were providing warmth for cave-dwellers, although not always safely.
Early fireplaces were crude, but they produced heat. Commonly made of stone, they had to be replaced often due to the damaging effects of heat.
Fireplaces weren’t found in most dwellings back then; only the wealthy were able to afford them. In other communities, like the Native Americans, fireplaces were often placed in the ground and reinforced with clay.
Material and drafting innovations
As centuries passed, iron became a trend in fireplace construction, which made the appliances safer and more efficient.
In the mid-1700s, Louis Savot (who was involved in the design of the Louvre in France) brought combustion innovation to fireplaces with a design that drew air from below the hearth and behind the grate. The air was fed through a mantel grill.
The biggest breakthrough in traditional fireplace and stove design also happened in the 1700s, when American inventor David Rittenhouse got the idea to use a bent stovepipe to carry smoke and combustion gases out of the dwelling. This early form of drafting has been modified many times over the years.
During Queen Victoria’s reign, from 1837 to 1901, fireplaces began showing up in “average” people’s homes. Stonemasons perfected the art of fireplace building and made the appliance not just a necessity but a true visual amenity.
Fireplace Saftey Standards
Today, fireplace makers and installers must follow a long list of regulations from state and local governments.
Companies that clean and repair chimneys and fireplaces also must comply with regulations designed to protect homeowners and their homes.
Fireplaces in modern times
As with so many other inventions, fireplaces went through quite a few modifications and “trials by error” before people really began to understand the best ways to build and install them. Drafting through a pipe or chimney made a significant difference in how families used and enjoyed their fireplaces.
As the 1900s progressed, we learned (often the hard way) about fireplace and venting safety, correct installation practices and the prevention of chimney fires.
We also learned about innovative construction methods and materials and can now provide fireplaces and stoves that are phenomenally safer and more efficient than the appliances that graced the homes of rich Romans several centuries ago.
Looking for a new fireplace or stove?
Since 1987, the Oliver Twist installation team has placed the highest priority on safety and correct practices with every fireplace insert and stove we install for our Southland customers. If you’re thinking of adding a fireplace or stove to your home, contact the experts and get the job done right.
Give us a call at (714) 843-9944 or reach out with our handy contact form.