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, funsford, and other common open stoves and ranges, with which every eye is fami liarized, 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 civilised 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.
Irish Stove.—Mr. Buchanan, in his Essay on the Economy of .Fsiel, relates, that on landing in Ireland, he was much struck with the excellent construction of the fire-grate in the room of the inn where he lodged. He at first thought it was an invention of his landlord's, but on proceeding on his ,journey, he found the same kind of grates common in that part of Ireland. Fig. 1 repre sents a front elevation, and Fig. 2 a transverse vertical section of one of these fire-places, which appear well calculated to remedy the smoking of chimneys, and, at the same time, to lessen the consumption of fuel. The fire room is wide and shallow, presenting the greater surface of fire to the room, and thereby radiating the greatest quantity of heat into it. The upper portion of the chimney recess is partly closed by an 'upright slab of fire stone, in which is cut an arch. The back wall is formed of fire stone, or fire brick, into an oval niche, and the throat of the chimney is made very small to increase the velocity of the air, and thus enable it the better to carry off the smoke.
Birmingham Stove.—The stoves in common use in Staffordshire and War wickshire, although not so elegant as those made in London and Nottingham for the same class of rooms, are far more judiciously disposed for diffusing warmth. Instead of the usual recess in the brickwork for the reception of the stove, the wall is built up in front from the ground to the mantel, and flush with it, leaving only an aperture of eight or nine inches square for the passage of smoke into the chimney ; this is situated just above the back of the stove, which is placed against this wall, projecting its whole depth entirely into the room.