The History of the Chimney

The History of the Chimney

From the discovery of fire, the history of humanity has been closely linked to this element in a very special way. Thanks to it, we began to cook food to make it more digestible, as well as to combat the most intense cold. However, from the time when fire was made on the ground to the fireplace in cinema as we know it today, many centuries and many things have passed. In this HotFireDoor article, we want to take a brief look at how the use of fire for heating has evolved.

From the origin to the Roman Empire

As we have already mentioned, the discovery of fire brought about a great change. In caves and cabins, a fire was made in the center to heat the whole house, although in certain situations, such as places with combustible elements, wooden huts, and the like, the risk of fire was very high.
Little by little, ways of controlling fire were developed, such as clay ovens, where food was cooked and the area was heated. However, nothing prevented the smoke from intoxicating those inside, as there was only one space where the firewood was placed and where the smoke exited when it burned.

Closing the chimney with a door: These are its advantages!

The Romans perfected a heating system that channeled fire and heat through pipes placed under the floor and inside the walls. This way, the temperature inside increased, and the smoke stayed outside. It was only used in the wealthier households, but it represented a great advancement in the evolution of what a chimney is today.

The Middle Ages

After the fall of the Roman Empire, these great ideas were forgotten, and ancestral (and dangerous) methods were used again. A fire lit on the ground was the way to get warm and cook, generating waste and allowing the smoke to remain inside the spaces where the occupants breathed. We can imagine why life expectancy was so short in that era.

The smartest ones would open a hole in the roof for the smoke to escape through there, reducing the danger a little, although it was not entirely practical, especially in rainy seasons. One of the things that characterized homes in the Middle Ages was the amount of soot that adhered to the ceiling beams as a result of this practice.

fireplace story
When houses with two floors started to be built, there was a problem. The fire couldn’t be in the middle, and the smoke needed to go out. That’s why structures were built next to the walls where the fire was made and the smoke was channeled through a pipe that went outside. The chimney was born as we know it today.

How to cover the fireplace with glass.

Modern Chimneys and Energy Efficiency

The system has changed little since those times, except that fireplace doors and closed systems allow for better fuel utilization and constant heat with less heat loss.
We have summarized the history of the chimney a lot. It is interesting to know the origin of the advancements we enjoy today. But the best thing is to be able to benefit from them, like lighting the fire and enjoying a cozy home despite the cold outside, right?