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Fireplace History
The method of using wood for heating homes and offices is almost as old as dirt. Dating back to the 1700s, Abraham Darby used methods of smelting where iron was discovered to provide a cost efficient way of producing heat.

However, it was during the Victorian era when fireplaces started gaining popularity. During that time, people felt that in addition to the production of heat, fireplaces added a touch of class, providing homes a cozy, quaint environment. Over the years, as the style of housing changed, so did the style of fireplaces along with the technology. Fireplaces became more sophisticated, providing sand casting techniques, thus providing an opportunity for manufacturers to create even better designs.

Even with all the changes and advancements, the basic fireplace technology remains the same, consisting of two elements - the surround and the insert. The surround portions of the fireplace is the mantle and sides and is usually constructed of wood, marble, granite, and sometimes iron. The insert is the portion of the fireplace where the fire is burned. This part is constructed of cast iron and often decorated with gorgeous tile of various color or design.

Benjamin Franklin also played an important role in the invention of fireplaces. He discovered that fireplaces lost a tremendous amount of heat through the wall. This inspired him to create the first freestanding firebox, which became to be known as the Franklin stove. Trying to find ways to best heat a room, he placed the first stove in the center of the room. The result was that the entire room was heated thoroughly and evenly. His other discovery was that by using heavy cast iron, even when the flames went out, the heat continued being produced.

Even with all his great discoveries, Benjamin Franklin's first attempt had a flaw. Because smoke was vented from the bottom, air could not be drawn in. A man living in Philadelphia by the name of David Rittenhouse decided to use Benjamin's creation but now add an L-shaped stovepipe as a way of moving the air through the fire and then vent the smoke out through a chimney. This addition proved quite successful and by the late 1700s, these freestanding stoves were being used throughout the country. Although David Rittenhouse made the stove a success, the name Franklin stove is what stuck.



 
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