The Development of the Chimney
Fire has been used for heating and cooking for many years, but there were not always chimneys. In the past, many people built fires in the middle of the floor of the home. This was before windows had glass, so the drafts caused the smoke, flames, and ash to go everywhere. Sometimes, people would make holes in the roof of the house to help draw out the smoke.
The Advent of Chimney Sweeps
Chimneys did not gain popularity until about the 16th and 17th centuries. This was mostly due to coal becoming a popular fuel to burn. The smoke from coal fires required a better ventilation system. It was often burned in great quantities, and chimney sweeps came along about this time as well. Because burning coal causes more of a buildup of soot, it was necessary to have the chimneys cleaned regularly.
The first chimney sweeps were actually young boys. They were small enough to climb up inside the chimneys and clean the soot. It was a dangerous job, as the children faced several perils. Suffocation, as well as falling, and getting stuck inside the chimney were a few of the dangers. The use of young boys as chimney sweeps was outlawed in the 1800s. Today, cleaning is quite different. A company that offers chimney cleaning washington dc is 301 Chimney.
Fireplaces are Still Popular
Some early chimneys were built on the outside of exterior walls of homes. This was when fireplaces were quite deep. After they became more shallow, chimneys began to be built into the exterior walls. Some homes had several chimneys, because there were fireplaces in many rooms.
There are many older homes still around with the original fireplaces, and homes are built with fireplaces if desired. Some people use them, and others just keep them maintained for the look they provide. Although central heat and air systems have negated the need for fireplaces, there are people that like them as an added heating source. They are also quite handy in the event of power outages in areas that have harsh winters.