Historic chimney dating

22-Nov-2019 16:28 by 9 Comments

Historic chimney dating

Coal grew in popularity as an alternative fuel source for wood.

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In earlier civilizations, fires were built in fire pits in the center of rooms to provide warmth to buildings and homes; however, the early Romans began using fireplaces to produce heat and to cook indoors.

The earliest signs of chimney use date to the 13th century in Italy, but it wasn’t until the 16th century in England that the trend of fireplaces and chimneys really took off and people began constructing homes with fireplaces in each room.

Originally, chimneys were built into the homes of England’s ruling class, but it wasn’t long before fireplaces and chimneys were built into the homes of the working class as well.

Soon, devices were invented which allowed the chimney sweep to clean and brush the walls from one end of the chimney or fireplace without having to actually enter the flue.

One method was devised using a heavy iron or lead ball and rope system which cleaned chimneys from the roof down to the lowest fireplace.

Others died from cancer caused by the inhalation of soot and fumes.

When Parliament passed the “Act for the Regulation of Chimney Sweepers” in 1864, children were no longer used to clean chimneys in England.

In 17th century England, the government began to charge a very hefty hearth tax which was based on the number of chimneys in a home.

To avoid paying taxes on the additional chimneys, builders began to adjoin the flues of new fireplaces to existing chimneys within the home.

Entering through the fireplace, the chimney sweep apprentice or “climbing boy” crawled up into the dark confines to scrape coal deposits and to brush soot from the walls of the flues with little scrubber brushes.

Children frightened to enter the narrow confines were often coerced by their chimney masters who built a small fire in the fireplace or lit bundles of straw and held it under them to coax the child to climb into the pitch-black maze of flues.

If not cleaned routinely, the deposits began to block or deflect the flow of air up the chimneys forcing harmful and toxic fumes into the buildings and homes.