Fireplaces – Their Beginnings

Campfires were the first type of “fireplace” and has been around for thousands of years. It is impossible to document the first “fireplace” or “campfire.” However, scientists have documented them as far back as 40,000 plus years. Depending on location many ancient cultures around the world replaced outside “campfire” style fireplaces with inside “fire pits” to serve for warmth and cooking needs. A fire pit let smoke escape through holes in the roof and was a prototype of a modern chimney. However true chimneys, with smoke stacks, would not be invented for hundreds of years later with the stone fireplace or brick oven just before the early Roman period. It is not known what culture first brought the fireplace inside a residence, but it was probably a cold climate society.

During the late 1600’s and into the early 1700’s, the fireplace saw more than one advancement, one which would be the convection chamber, by Benjamin Franklin. The fireplace convection chamber greatly improved the efficiency of fireplaces and wood stoves.

In palaces and wealthy homes of the day the fireplace was turned into a luxurious work of art. Flanked by marble pillars, adorned with statues, mirrors, oils paintings and sometimes decorated with beveled glass, the fireplace was meant to make a statement of wealth and privilege.

As of now, the modern age of the 21st century, only 9% complete, fireplaces have advanced to electric status. Many modern fireplaces are made of marble or stone and many are even decorated with flat screen televisions. For small spaces like an apartment or highrise flats, a pellet stove may add just the right modern feel.  For those who live in small log cabins a wood stove normally provides all the warmth one needs.

For someone who might want an outdoor or back yard fireplace is going to have a choice of a wide rage of designs.  On the market today one can find small fireplace kits to big outdoor stone fireplaces, with even a side grill.