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The Evolution of Fireplaces From Ancient History to Today

Craig Middleton Oct 16, 2019
Fireplaces have long been a source of warmth and comfort, acting as a barrier against the elements for mankind over thousands of years. In addition to providing warmth and a method of preparing food, fire has long been associated with the evolution of mankind from primitive beings to the inhabitants of advanced civilization today.

From Piles to Pits

Fires were previously kept to piles of wood that were susceptible to whims of the elements. In 500 BC, this changed: peasants dug central pits in their huts to keep fires in. These fire pits, different from gas fire place options of today, provided a source of light and warmth, mainly as heat didn't escape.

Roman Sophistication

Romans created something called hypocaust, a system that used a series of pipes or flues to pass hot air and smoke through areas that would provide heat to rooms, without filling them with smoke. Traditionally, hypocausts were used to pipe heated air either through walls of a room or to its floors to provide warmth.

Improvement of Chimneys

Fireplaces began to take more familiar appearance to what is commonly used today, in the 1700s. Having more complex methods of venting smoke via chimneys, fireplaces eventually evolved into smaller forms of earlier renditions. This focused on development of fireplaces used more for heat than for cooking.

Design, Not Function

In 1900s, function of fireplaces switched once more. Central heating came into play, resulting in fireplaces being used as a design element than a source of heat. This helped create a multitude of fireplace looks, such as electric fireplace that appeared as traditional wood-burning fire.

Embracing Different Styles

Fireplaces had undergone changes to match varying aesthetics claimed by different decades. In 1960s, many fireplaces came with accessories that added extra sophistication. One of the most notable fireplaces was introduced in mid-1990s. Now we have electric fireplace.