Fireplace history: how the fireplace became a household element

Fireplace history has come a long way from the beginning of the evolution of humankind to the present day in which this element aside from always being seen as a source of heat, became one of the main elements in many households as well as a decorative element from some people. Join us on this journey through time in which we’ll discover a little more on fireplace history together!

Fireplace history: how the fireplace became a household element

Fireplace history dates a long way back before civilization as we know it today. Ironically fire pits were used way before fireplaces, being usually built within the centre of a hut which had a hole in the roof to allow smoke to exit. They were often used to cook meals and protect members of tribes from the bitter cold. However, it was through ancient Rome, during which people used the Hypocaust heating system that the concept of a fireplace slowly came to be

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As the chimney was thereafter invented and the fireplace began to be seen as a household element, this started to also become the decorative element that we can see in many examples throughout history. Grand fireplaces became common in aristocratic families’ homes sealing fireplace history as being a central element in the living or dining room.

This was particularly noticeable in the Victorian era during which marble fireplaces were more ornate having some experiencedly crafted elements such as columns, and floral designs. We can also point to the late Victorian period during which fireplaces became more simple and geometric. During the Art Noveau movement, fireplaces tended to be more floral and plant motifs, with flowing curvilinear forms.

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However, during the industrial age, fireplaces tended to be made of cast iron and decorated in the Rococo Revival style. From there, the styles of the fireplaces tended to become more simple compared to the three previous time periods we’ve mentioned. Thanks to the introduction of central heat in fireplace history during the 1950s some people tended to view the fireplace more as a decorative element that a main source of heat.

Nowadays fireplaces are more evolved than ever with more than one possibility of fuel as well as an easier and more versatile form of installation without the requirement of a chimney. Of course, the design possibilities that we can see in fireplace these days proves that regardless of this element is more seen as a heating source or a decorative one, this will still remain as a central piece in many households for many years to come.


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