The History of the Chimney!

Reclaimed roofing slate is one our favourite products, the way how it still performs perfectly whilst giving older houses the same look of wisdom that they did before is amazing.

We’ve found that when applying these tiles, people get into a pattern and then they reach… the chimney. Patterns have to be aborted, and you have to work with the chimney, not against it.

There are tutorials on YouTube, step-by-step guides on blogs so we thought we’d go a little different because instead of hating on that piece of architecture, we want to show you just how good it is at its job!

We give you, the History of the chimney.

To start with, no one knows when they actually started to appear. What we do know is that they were pretty bad and looked nothing like how you’d expect one to be today!

We know that Elizabeth the first loved them, and would only let her female guests stay in houses with chimneys. Historians have also found remnants from earthquakes occurring in Venice in 1347!

We know that previous to 1719, chimneys were fine to be made from wood and clay. A design that would regularly set on fire due to botch jobs where the wood was not coated enough in clay. This happened regularly, even with constant checks!

Post 1719, in the United Kingdom, all Chimneys had to be made from Brick and mortar, this was not the case in the USA, even though the president of the time refused to stay in accommodation that did not fit this requirement.

Oddly, before chimneys became a thing, many people just accepted the smoke. In fact, scientists thought of smoke as a fluid. A fluid that would not leave until it had warmed your house up; therefore there was simply no way of getting rid of it.

One must remember as well, that fires in these times, around the 12th Century were used for more than keeping your feet warm, they had were used to cook food and acted as the central heating. As such, they were usually in the centre of homes, with a wide hearth. A stark contrast to today’s fires, in skinny chimneys or wood burners, with small hearths and are used for aesthetics, and added warmth to save on the heating bill.

It was Luis Savot who came up with this new design, he was a Parisian physician. He undertook a study of smoky chimneys, his designs mirrors today’s chimneys, but why?

Well, Louis discovered that having a smaller flute with a smaller fireplace improved the amount of air flow going up the chimney, whilst having a smaller flute reduces the air coming down the chimney, therefore keeping soot and smeg from re-entering the room.

So … Appreciate your chimney! It does what it is meant to do, all thanks to a man who had nothing to do with architecture!

Categories: All Slates, Chimneys, Reclaimed Slate, Slate