What is a fireplace?


   The fireplace is a partially enclosed structure of stone, brick, or steel in which wood or coal is burned for heating and cooking and, in modern times, for aesthetic reasons. Burning fuel in a fireplace is a wasteful method of producing heat, but because of the beauty of the flames and glowing coals and because of the significance attached to the fireplace as the center of the home, fireplaces are still built.
   Benjamin Franklin and Count Rumford were the first two persons to study scientifically the movements of air in the fireplace. They found that a fireplace that really draws must not be just an extension downward of a flue but must have a smoke chamber, a smoke shelf, and a throat to keep downdrafts from blowing smoke back into the room. They also discovered that there is a definite ratio, 1:7, between the opening of the fireplace and the area of the flue.