Observations on the forgotten art of building a good fireplace: the story of Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford, an American genius & his principles of fireplace design which have remained unchanged for 174 years

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Alan C. Hood & Co., Apr 1, 2000 - Architecture - 64 pages
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Since its original publication in 1969 by Yankee, Inc., Vrest Orton's classic book on fireplace design has gone through numerous printings and has brought about a revival of the Rumford fireplace. The basic principles that Count Rumford set forth in 1795 describe the construction of a large shallow fireplace which does not smoke and which throws out much more heat than many of today's fireplaces which send too much of the heat up the chimney. This new edition contains some practical notes by Wally Leeds, a mason in Tunbridge, Vermont who builds Rumford fireplaces today.

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Orton Slanted Rumfords
I have videos of my slanted back Rumford with the damper adjusted to 1-3/4" with no smoke.
It radiates more heat than the straight version and has room for a nice fire made
with logs laid horizontally.We have just reduced the setting to 1-3/4'' and burned it for 30 hrs and not a trace of smoke.
This is just 79 sq.inches and 1/30th the FP opening of 50'' by 48''.
We are preparing a detailed video as there is no straight back Rumford we know of with this ratio.This is lean as they get.
This slant back Rumford fireplace has been burned avidly for 18 years and the face has never discolored due to smoke escaping. There is no better proof of proper function!
Being able to close the damper down from the normal 4-1/2'' to 5'' used on straight backs, negates the often used statement,"the longer throats of slanted versions let more heat out the chimney".
If a slanted rumford is constructed properly it cascades flames and heat towards the room and frugally exits the smoke through the long and narrow throat, which is located a mere 4 to 8 inches behind the face, heating the face right up practically to the ceiling. The damper is self fabricated in the early 70's when I first read Vrest Orton's book, The Forgotten Art of Building a Good Fireplace. It is a shame Orton is being disrespected by those whom advocate the straight backs calling them "the true Rumford", and use misleading jargon like, "slanted backs have longer throats.. up to 1/3 larger which waste heat'', '' they can't have ti pi fires which makes them prone to smoke, because the horizontal logs emit smoke out the ends then get cast forward and into the turbulence, then out into the room!" They choose to write history's closure to what Rumford was trying to accomplish in his attempt to slant fireboxes, just because he never did elucidate on his findings.They privilege themselves in saying he hired a potter to build a special throat / breast, but failed, then blow smoke at themselves for accomplishing this throat 200 years later, but in reality he never needed "back then" what they ''now make", If these people had any success in building smokeless Orton Slanted Fireplaces they would have the knowledge to realize it wasn't the throat / breast of Rumford's experimental slanted box-s that needed special skills, nor Harry D Potter and his magic!
This article was too long, read the full version at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Casini-Masonry/159609824086030?sk=wall.
http://www.youtube.com/my_videos?feature=mhsn videos
Hats Off To Orton!
Francis Casini

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About the author (2000)

Orton served in France during WWI, had a distinguished career in book and magazine publishing for 20 years, and then moved back to Vermont after Pentagon service following WWII to found The Vermont Country Store.

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