How To Take The Tip Off A Wood Burning Set History of Fireplace Tools

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History of Fireplace Tools

When it comes to building and maintaining fires in home fireplaces, many different fireplace tools are used, and each of these tools has a different story to tell about how they appeared on the hearth of the fireplace. This story will deal with andirons, bellows, pokers, and fireplace screens. Along with fireplace tools, shovels, pincers and brushes are also included, but it is rather difficult to establish how and when these particular tools began to be used.

To begin our discussion let’s start with the definition of tool. This is a device that provides a mechanical advantage in performing a physical task. Archeology has established that man has been using various tools since the beginning of our existence. A tool can be as simple as a stick used to strike something to reach and move it.

Poker

With that in mind, let’s begin our exploration of the history of fireplace tools with the poker. A poker, also known as a stoker, is a short, stiff rod used to move burning material in a fire. Today’s fireplace starters are usually made of metal with a spike at one end for propelling the burning material and a handle at the other end. Archeology shows that we have used pokers as a fireplace tool since the Paleolithic era. This period is the prehistoric era known for the development of the first stone tools. It covers the period from 2.5 or 2.6 million years ago to about 10,000 BC with the introduction of agriculture. It accounts for most of human time on Earth (about 99% of human history). Archaeologists think that fireplace pokers were invented soon after the discovery of fire (790,000 years ago) and that the first pokers were most likely made of the same material as the fuel for the fire, i.e. wood. In the early days the fireplace poker, or “firestick” was probably a thick stick of some kind used to help keep the fire going.

Over the centuries this fireplace tool evolved, and as other tools were used, the fireplace poker went back and forth. Until the 17th century in England one could only find a fire fork and andirons for the fireplace, but in the 19th century a fire poker was always used and the fire fork had all but disappeared.

The first successful mass production of pokers as part of an entire fireplace set was designed and manufactured in Cape Girardeau, Missouri by the RL Hendrickson Manufacturing Corporation in 1898. From that time until today the poker is almost always considered part of the fireplace set. fireplace tools assembly.

“By fireshoes … the housekeeper and the ironsmith mean a fire shovel, a poker, and a pair of tongs. These implements were not all found on the ancient hearths of this country; nor were they all necessary when wood was burned upon a hearth… The use of coal from pits, and closed fireplaces, has allowed the adoption of the now universally requested poker.” Robert Hunt, Treatise on the Progressive Improvement and Present State of Metal Manufactures, 1853.

Andirons

An andirons is a horizontal bar on which logs are placed for burning in an open fireplace. Andirons usually come in pairs. They support the firewood so that a current of air can pass around it and allow for proper burning and less smoke. The andirons rest on short legs and are usually connected to a vertical guard.

As man began to seriously study fire and its properties, it was discovered that allowing air to circulate around the fire led to better fires. Because of this discovery, andirons became increasingly popular. In the 16th-18th century AD they were also used as a support for a spit for roasting or for holding porridge.

Before the 14th century andirons were almost always forged from wrought iron and were very simple. During the Italian Renaissance period (14th to 17th century AD) many ordinary household items came to the attention of artists and the design and skill were used to produce andirons. The andlar reached its maximum artistic development under Louis XIV of France (late 1600s). The guard (the vertical part of the andali) was richly ornamented. The designs consisted of heraldic symbols, sphinxes, grotesque animals, mythological creatures and much more.

Sometimes andirons were referred to by the creature they represented. An example of this that continues today is firedog. Andirons that portrayed dogs were called andirons. This plays on the double meaning of the word dog (canine and inanimate keeper). In some areas firedog began to be used to refer to any andi. In the United States andiron was once used only in the North and iron dog, fire dog, or simply dog ​​was used to identify andirons in the South. The southern term is still used in that region, but the alarino is now used everywhere.

“Lighting a fire, however simple, is an operation that requires a certain skill; a fire is easily lit by placing some ashes in an open order on the bottom; above this some pieces of paper, and above again eight or ten pieces of dry paper, wood; on top of the wood, a course of medium-sized pieces of coal, taking care to leave air gaps in the center; and taking care to put everything back in the brazier, so that the smoke can go up the chimney, and not in the room. This done, light the paper with a match from below, and, if properly set, it will soon burn; the flow of flame from the wood and paper soon communicates to the coals and ashes, provided there is plenty of air in the center.” Isabella Beeton, Home Management Book, 1861.

Bellows

The bellows is a mechanical device for creating a jet of air. It usually consists of a hinged box with flexible sides, which expands to draw air through an inward opening value and contracts to expel air through a nozzle.

The bellows was widely used in medieval Europe (5th to 16th centuries). It was used to quicken the burn for a blacksmith and later to operate pipe organs. One of the simplest and most familiar types of bellows is the manual bellows used with fireplaces. The expandable chamber consists of a leather pouch with pleated sides. The bag is secured between the handles to expand and contract. The inlet and outlet vents have values ​​such that the air must enter from the first and exit from the second. Thus the fireplace bellows becomes a simple air pump.

When we think of fireplaces we usually think of these simple bellows. But bellows have played an important role in history. Metal casting wasn’t possible until after the invention of the bellows which made the flap possible. Bellows provide additional air to the fuel and increase the rate of heat generation required for fusion. Around 3000 BC hand-operated bellows were used for casting metal (bronze). The earliest evidence of iron smelting is around 930 BC

Although early humans did not need to heat and cook fires to the temperatures needed for melting, they found that bellows in fireplaces made fire building easier. Lighting the wood with a bellows produces a hotter flame and logs start much faster. This is especially important when working with wet logs. Also, chimney bellows were used early on to create an airflow to blow ash out of the chimney during cleaning.

Even today, fireplace bellows are a necessary tool on the fireplace hearth. It is also a tool that many people like to design and make themselves. Many bellows are made from fine wood and can have very intricate designs that make for an elegant object to display by the fire.

Fireplace screens

While there is no exact date for when fireplace screens came into use, we do know that they were first a form of furniture that protected people from any excess heat from a wood burning fireplace. Early fireplace screens usually came in the form of flat panels standing on attached feet or as adjustable shield-shaped panels mounted on tripod table legs.

Today’s fireplace screens come in many decorative designs and are made of metal, glass or wire mesh and are placed in front of the fireplace to protect the room from flying embers that may come from the fire. They are sometimes used to cover the fireplace when not in use to make the area more decorative.

Whichever fireplace tool you use to help build and maintain your fire, know that there’s a long history behind each of those fireplace tools, and centuries of use have gone into perfecting the tool you’re holding. And remember that in modern society, fire has evolved from providing needed warmth and cooking to a symbol of warmth and love shared by all who gather are the hearth of the fireplace.

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