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Fireplace Screens & Fireplace History


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Fireplace Screens & Fireplace History

The fireplace has been providing heat and a means for cooking since late civilization. The first fireplaces were developed when medieval houses and castles were equipped with chimneys to carry away smoke. Experience soon showed that the chimney's rectangular shape and certain depth was most favorable and that a grate provided the best draft and that splayed sides increased the flame.

The earliest method of providing interior heating was an open fire with methods such as a fireplace. In fact, up until the 19th century, open fires were often the only source of heat for the average home. Families gathered around the fireplace to keep warm. But all too often the fire gave away more heat to some and not enough to others. It is this reason fireplace screens were actually conceived.

Fireplace screens were created as devices to help regulate the spread of heat throughout the room and as a safety measure to keep sparks from escaping the fireplace. In the summer months, the fire place screen was used to cover the fireplace and act as a frame even the though fires would no longer be lit. The fireplace screen hid the grate and dark hole where the fires roared in the winter.

By the 19th century, different styles of fire place screens became available. Most were adjustable fireplace screens that were portable and made from wood, leather, paper mache and wicker. The most common were horse fireplace screens. The horse screen, renamed cheval screen, got its name because of its shape. It had two end-frames standing on two feet often linked by a stretcher that supported the screen panel. Originally the frames and feet of the cheval fireplace screen were heavily decorated. Later on, the screens themselves were decorated with painted wood, embroidered tapestry and even stained glass.

Athough the fireplace screen was originally utilitarian in nature, they are now usually featured as a decorative front - some of which are quite ornate. Fireplace Screens Etc.com offers a wide range of fire screens in style from your basic model to elaborately filigreed works of art. Give your fireplace, the heart of your home, a checkup and make sure it is dressed and accessorized with one of our beautiful fireplace screens.

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