But that prehistoric moment of truth forms the basis for the human passion we all share for huddling around the burning logs and flames together while having a great conversation over a cup of tea, or sharing a bottle of wine with friends. Have you ever wondered about the origins of the institution that became the modern-day domestic fireplace?
Beyond that first stone age moment of truth with the spark breathed into life, the Celts created fire pits, which could be housed in small dwellings, with a primitive chimney to draw the air through and allow a whole living area to be filled with heat. That was a massive step forward towards the log effect fires we have in homes these days
And then, of course, the Romans improved things, as they so often did. In the case of fireplaces, their innovation included a portable hearth that meant a fireplace could be carried between different spaces, a bit like the convenience of the modern day electric fire.
In medieval times, indoor fires were used for cooking food as well as warming bodies, and then hundreds of years later, when homes had staircases, the first fireplaces were incorporated, much more as we know them today. The more sophisticated chimney designs would extract the smoke from the room, which was much better for living conditions in the building, as well as being a more effective way for the fire to burn.
But it wasn’t until the 17th century that the modern day grate was first incorporated, allowing even greater efficiency by introducing the free flow of air beneath the fuel and so bringing increased oxygen to the flame.
Benjamin Franklin’s addition to the history of fireplaces was the cast iron stove, which produced multiple increases in the heat produced, with a much more conservative use of fuel for burning.
Then in the 20th century, people became increasingly interested in the look and style of the fireplace, with all kinds of cutting-edge designs and innovations, including the first suspended fireplace in the 60s. Many people were after that traditional look of log effect fires, and these were designed in various innovations.
By the time we reach the last 20 or 30 years, of course, people are becoming more energy conscious and thinking carefully about the cost to the environment as well as the affordability of domestic fireplaces.
In 1995 the world saw its first contemporary electric fireplace that combined all that’s good about convincing log effect fires coupled with the convenience of an electric switch.
These days the choice and variety of designs are impressive so if you’re looking for a new fireplace you can select between a log burner, a gas or electric fire with impressive log effect features that will turn the heart of the most traditional homeowner.
There’s no reason to be chilly this winter if you’re wondering about getting a new fireplace. Have a look through our product pages and get in touch if you need advice on fitting or maintenance.