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The History of Fireplace Grates

Fireplace grates are a key element of most wood-burning fireplaces, but do you know their history? In 1678, Prince Rupert raised the grate of the fireplace. This inventive change may at first glance seem inconsequential, but Prince Rupert’s innovation significantly improved venting and airflow. More precisely, the raised grate lifted the logs slightly, which allowed air to get in from below and in turn helped fuel the flames more efficiently. The grate also served to keep the logs in place as they burned. Rumford’s contribution was later complemented by Benjamin Franklin’s own improvement to the fireplace, the Franklin stove, which changed the way that fumes exited the chimney. It was also compatible with Count Rumford’s 1796 Rumford fireplace, which was tall, shallow, and set into the interior wall. Today, the fireplace grate is still in use and, in fact, it remains an important element of most wood-burning interior fireplaces.

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