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History of Fireplace, by Marco Fireplace

The history of the fireplace is pretty much the history of the Industrial Revolution itself. In the mid 1700's new smelting methods, developed chiefly by Abraham Darby, allowed iron to be cast more cost-efficiently and successfully than ever before, and Britain became pre-eminent in the world as a net exporter of manufactured iron goods.

Popularity of the fireplace increased as the Victorians added a touch of class to their living rooms. Indeed, the structure of houses themselves changed, with more and more rooms needing heating, therefore more and more used a Fireplace. Increasingly, coal was being used instead of wood and smaller grates replaced the large basket-style grates of the 1700's. As the technology behind casting improved, so did the sophistication of the Fireplace, with new sand casting techniques enabling the manufacturers to produce better and more elaborate designs than ever before.

Even now, the basic technology behind a Fireplace is still the same. There are basically two elements: the insert and the surround. The insert (basically, the bit with the fire in it) is always cast iron, often decorated with tiles, while the surround (the mantel and sides) can be in marble, wood or, less often, iron again. Combination units are also increasingly popular, combining both insert and surround.

Increasingly, people are turning back to the Fireplace as a means of heating their homes. It may not be as easy as turning on the timer on the boiler, but it's a good deal more attractive than an off-white radiator.

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