Fire-Place is a general term given to the brick, stone, and iron-work, which constitute the apparatus for heating the apartments of dwelling-houses, and for performing culinary and other domestic operations, to which the various names of stoves, stove-grate, grate, and range, are given; but as it would be uninteresting and useless to explain, in this place, the bath, pantheon, rumford, and other common open stoves and ranges, with which every eye is familiarized, we shall confine our notice to the leading features, (stripped of all ornament), of those deviations from the ordinary apparatus, which are regarded as improvements upon the before-mentioned. It has been remarked, that Englishmen, who boast so much of their firesides, and who are the greatest and most skilful manufacturers of iron work in the world, are generally the worst provided with the means of comfortable warmth of any civilized nation. The mode almost universally adopted for increasing the temperature of our apartments by the common open stoves, supplied, as they are, with air drawn from around the chilled persons of its occupants, is perhaps as wasteful and inefficient as could be designed.
Full nine-tenths of the heat generated in the grate is rapidly conducted away up the chimney into the atmosphere, while the remaining feeble tenth is radiated into the apartment. The introduction of the register stoves, about thirty years ago, undoubtedly effected a considerable mitigation of the evil just mentioned. These stoves, filling up the entire opening of the fire place, and being provided with a flap door at the upper part of the back, which can be opened and shut, more or less, according to the state of the fire, and the emission of the smoke, check in some degree the current of cold air which is constantly rushing to the fire-place to fill up the vacuum in the chimney, and support the combustion of the fuel in the grate. When there is only a little, or a very clear fire in the grate, the flap door may be almost closed, in which state it prevents the falling of soot into the apartment. There is, however, this objection to such stoves being made entirely of metal, which, from its great conductibility, is not so economical with respect to the fuel as the following, and some others of a very humble kind.