Making a Fireplace
In a book of this kind there is no particular need for dwelling at length on the desirability of having a fireplace. That will be taken for granted. It is enough to say that in these days a home can scarcely be considered worthy of the name if it does not contain at least one hearth. There is some inexplicable quality in a wood fire that exerts almost a hypnotic influence upon those who eagerly gather about it. The smoldering glow of the logs induces a calm and introspective mood that banishes all the trivialities and distractions of the day’s work and gives one an opportunity to replenish his store of energy for the coming day.
The open fire, unlike most of the comforts that we demand in a modern home, has been associated with the race as far back almost as the home itself. At first, of course, it was as a necessity and the development from that to a luxury has been an exceedingly slow one extending over the years down to the present time.
There are two forms of the open fire—a possible third one, the gas log, being a subject on which the less said the better. We have, therefore, a choice between the open fireplace designed for wood and the basket grate in which to burn coal, preferably cannel coal. This latter fuel is not nearly so well known in this country as in England where the scarcity of wood necessarily makes coal the more commonly used fuel. With our own abundance of wood, however, there will perhaps be little hesitancy in choosing the open fireplace rather than the basket grate for coal, although in certain cases, for example an apartment where the flue has been built too small, or in a house where an available chimney offers only a small flue area for fireplace use, the basket grate will prove a welcome solution of the problem. Of course there is no excuse whatever for building a modern home with a chimney too small for the sort of fireplace you want, but where the chimney has already been built without this provision it may possibly be found that a small terra cotta flue lining may be inserted in the larger flue without seriously damaging the latter’s power of draft. In that event the addition of a basket grate fireplace to an old house would be an interesting possibility.