Bionaire Electric Fireplace Heater Reviews – In the early growth of the fireplace mantel – from the primitive wood or peat fire lit on a slab of stone during the Saxon times throughout the mediaeval period once the fireplace mantel evolved into a substantially more efficient edifice – the most important room was that the frequent hallway.
The Saxon dwelling, whether it was a royal castle, a manor home, or a lowly one-room cabin, was built around the fireplace. Rooms could be added on at different phases of the life of the home, but the fireplace has been the hub of early English national life, supplying heat to cook food, boil water and warm the inhabitants. The frequent hallway was generally on the ground floor, and has been open to the roof. The fire would be set in the center of the room and the smoke would float through open windows, crevices from the eaves – or occasionally through a hole in the roof created for this function. Coal was less objectionable than wood when burnt in close quarters like this, but the residents would have had to sleep around the fire at night to stay warm, so even when utilizing coal life must have been quite uncomfortable. Recessed fireplaces with chimneys were set up as early as the twelfth century in other rooms in the home, but even though the central fireplace was this important part of domestic life, chimneys did not come into general usage in the central hallway until the early sixteenth century. Smoke turrets or louvers were released during the reign of Henry III based on written documents, though there are not any cases still in existence. Initially they have been built solely for the purpose of assisting the smoke out of their construction, but gradually the chimney stack evolved as a highly decorative architectural decoration. These decorative architectural ornaments were called fireplace mantels.
The modern day fireplace mantel originates from the early Norman times. Unlike the single story Saxon dwelling, the Norman household was often set out more than two tales and therefore could not accommodate the Saxon method of allowing the smoke to drift out through the rafters. Early fireplace mantels were big, slightly cambered hoods, supported on stone jambs or corbels. The recesses of the capacious fireplace could comprise niches in the rear wall, where a clay cone or pipe could be put. There would be sufficient room to hang on cuts of beef to ensure that they might be smoke-cured.
By the beginning of the Tudor period, the fireplace mantels had evolved from a massive overhanging stone hood, occasionally even supported by columns, to some more discreet affair. There was sufficient area around the fire to allow a number of people to huddle close to the heat, and occasionally a bench would be set into the fireplace for relaxation. The lintel was normally one heavy beam along with also the opening of the fireplace was generally rectangular and wide to permit sufficient drought to oxygenate the flames.
Sometimes the kitchen fireplace even had an ingenious system of shelving mounted on each side of the hearth-the shelves were thin and hurried from back to front of the fireplace and have been used for baking loaves. Special flat shovels called “peles” were needed to retrieve loaves placed at the rear of the oven. A surprisingly few of those ovens are found, so it can only be presumed that bread has been so cheap to buy that the time and labour cost of producing loaves at home could not be economical.
Meat provided a far large percentage of the mediaeval diet than it will from the nineteenth century century. The meat would be taken up into the desk and served right off the spit. New types of turning and spit mechanisms were gradually brought into play, though it wasn’t till the second half of the nineteenth century that clockwork or draught-operated devices started to catch on, in an early effort to cut down time-wasting chores. There was even a small breed of dog called a “turnspit”, which was specially trained to operate the spits by walking on a drum or wheel fixed elevation on the wall near the fireplace. It wasn’t a happy profession for a little creature, especially if he was turning the spit for a big joint of meat to feed a large crowd.
Early fireplace mantels were quite straightforward and unadorned, a sensible design with no decorative appeal aside from an occasional simple rope detail around the surround. Towards the middle of the 16th century, not only were the fireplace mantels getting more ornate, but so were the surrounds and overmantels. The fireplace mantels around this time often demonstrate the disjointed character of fireplace design as outdated snatches of information from Renaissance Italy were taken out of context by noblemen hoping to showcase their wealth and status. These were applied to the fireplace at will, often mixing design styles such as Classical, Heraldic and conventional in one piece. The design often fought together with the technical aspects of the fireplace, and also the materials available in the region.