1902 Encyclopedia > Stoves and Fireplaces

Stoves and Fireplaces

STOVES AND FIREPLACES are structures of iron and other materials in which fuel is burned for heating and ventilating apartments and for cooking food. Follow-ing the primitive open hearth, the first separate heating apparatus used by Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans was the brazier, an open basin of metal in which charcoal was consumed. The brazier is still in common use for industrial purposes, and in Continental countries it is widely employed both for cooking and for domestic heating. The Romans further were acquainted with the hypocaust, a separate chamber under the floor of the apartment to be heated (see BATHS, vol. iii. p. 434). In an improved form of hypocaust, flues were provided which conveyed the heat and products of combustion to the floors of other apartments at some distance from the fire. In the remains of Roman villas found in Britain the hypocaust is an invariable feature. The introduction of chimneys into houses in the early part of the 14th century opened the way to all modern improvements in the heating arrangements of apartments, and the efforts of inventors have been devoted to the securing of the thorough combustion of the fuel used, and to the utilization of the maximum amount of heat therefrom in the most healthful and agreeable manner. Compare SMOKE ABATEMENT.

The stove or close range, as distinguished from the open fire-place, distributes the largest amount of heat from the fuel it burns. In its simplest form the common stove consists of a case of iron, closed above, with its sole raised from the floor on which it stands. It has two small openings in one side, one on the level of the fire-bars for draught, and the other above for supplying fuel; and on the opposite side the products of combustion are carried away by a flue-pipe passing into a chimney. In a more complex form the height of the case or body is increased, and a series of horizontal flues or spaces are formed inside, through which the heated air and smoke pass, thus extracting- more thoroughly the heat before it enters the chimney, and giving a greatly increased heating surface. Such stoves overdry the air in rooms, and, when they are externally heated to a high degree, floating particles are burned by falling on their surfaces, whence arises the disagreeable stuffy smell almost inseparable from their use. To mitigate this evil of overheating, linings of tiles, firebricks, and other non-conducting materials are with great advantage introduced between the heated iron and the air of the apartment. In ventilating stoves the outside casing of iron is entirely protected from the direct action of fire by a lining of firebrick. The inside is divided into several spaces or flues, and air drawn from without enters by a separate flue, and passing through these spaces is heated and delivered into the apartment as a warm current. In another class, of which the gill stove is the type, there radiates from the fire-case a range of flanges or gills a few inches apart, which conduct the heat outwards and enormously extend the heating surface, counteracting at the same time the tendency to overheating. Cooking stoves or ranges have in their centre a fire space covered above with a removable top-plate, in which are circular openings whereby the cooking vessels can he brought into direct contact with the fire. At both sides there are one or more compartments which form ovens, and around these the heat from the fire is carried by flues; or at one side a wrater boiler may be placed, although generally a high-pressure boiler occupies a space immediately behind the fire. The flues which pass around all these spaces, and that also leading directly to the chimney, are controlled by dampers, so that the heat can be directed along any desired course.

Both as a heating and cooking agent coal gas is now being largely used, and many forms of stoves have been devised to meet its peculiar conditions as a gaseous fuel. Gas stoves present the obvious advantages of cleanliness, comparative freedom from smoke, and immediate readiness for use ; and the flame and heat are under the most perfect control. Gas is used in open fireplaces as well as in stoves, a most efficient open heating arrangement being that devised by the late Sir Chas. W. Siemens, in which a combined fire of charcoal and coal gas is made. Small lamp stoves for burning mineral oils are also in use ; but they share the serious disadvantage of certain simple gas stoves, from which the whole pro-ducts of combustion pass into the room in which they are placed.

Fireplaces are entirely open in front; they radiate heat into the apartment; and flame, smoke, &c, pass direct into the chimney. The rapid passage of the heated air into the chimney carries away a large proportion of the heat, and this loss is particularly great in grates made entirely of iron. In modern grates of good quality the sides and back of the fire-basket are of fire-brick, which retains and throws out much heat. In slow-combustion grates the fire-basket is set low on the hearth, and air is admitted to the fuel only through the fire-bars in front. The back of the grate slopes in towards the hearth, wdiere the fire space is comparatively narrow. By means of a door sliding down over the front from the upper part of the grate, the indraught of air can be modified at pleasure. In ventilating fireplaces the fire-basket is of iron lined with fire-brick, and in the space between the back of the grate and the wall flues are formed which are heated from the fire. Into these flues air from without is introduced, which, after being there warmed, passes into the apartment at suitable openings.

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