From: "Chris & Nancy Paterson"
My husband and I have been renovating a 100 yr. old home for 2 1/2 yrs. Our fireplace has us totally stumped. As far as we know it is "coal burning", we have only been able to burn candles in it. The opening is very small, the opening is the same shape as the Rumford, was this design ever used for coal. One day (soon hopefully) the fireplace will be operational again. The house was built in 1904/05, the name "VICTORIA" appears on the backside of the insert. The fireplace is not on an exterior wall, it is in the centre of the house., clean-out is in the basement. Any information you could pass on to help us with this on going renovation would be greatly appreciated.
Chris & Nancy Paterson
Chris & Nancy,
Sorry to be so slow in responding.
Yes, I think by the picture and the date, your fireplace was probably a coal-burning fireplace not unlike some of the fireplaces we have pictured at http://www.rumford.com/victorian.html and links. Gas swept many areas about 1895 but coal was still in use in other areas, such as here in Washington state, until well into the twentieth century.
One option - the one I would choose - would be to convert, rebuild or "Rumfordize" the fireplace so that it's safe, functional and meets modern codes. This probably means relining the flue which can be tricky and confusing given modern relining standards.
I recommend that you look at a Victorian "Rumfordization" Job at http://www.rumford.com/vic.html and also, to get a bench mark, our new construction series at http://www.rumford.com/prod.html and read the article about historic fire protection strategies at http://www.rumford.com/training/firesafety.html
Bottom line is that you'll need an 8" diameter flue lining to make this fireplace work well and if the largest UL listed insulated lining system you can get in is too small or seems unnecessary or too expensive, get back to me and let's discuss some options.
Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
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