Rumford Never Built a New Fireplace
Improving existing fireplaces is very much in the Rumford tradition. In fact Rumford never designed or built a new fireplace.

In his own words, Rumford said he was engaged in "altering chimnies, so as to prevent their smoking, to save fuel, and to augment heat."

Rumford's essay goes on to explain how to rebuild the firebox to make it reflect more heat. To keep the fireplace from smoking and to minimize the heat wasted up the chimney, the throat should be diminished to about four inches in size "and it is likewise very important to 'round off the breast of the chimney,'" wrote Rumford.

That's it. that's it? Yes, Rumford made some etchings to show what he meant but the essence is make the firebox reflective and reduce and streamline the throat. He repeated himself, castigated his masons, discussed different examples and allowed some exceptions but Rumford's recommended fireplace improvements are very simple.

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