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JC Budding Home Fires
Last Updated: 03/06/2017
The Home Fires
JC Budding Home Fires book

The home fires

THERE is no one material thing in the home that has so many varied aspects or so much meaning tor us as the hearthstone. Sidney Smith used to say: "The fire is a live thing in a dead room. " And, indeed, itdoes seem to respond to and express every human mood. It crawls and runs, or leaps up and dances to the stately rhythm of the minuet or to wild, unbridled, bacchantic measures; it rejoices and laughs with us, and, although it cannot be said to weep, it at any rate darkens, cowers, and sinks into seeming accord with our sad memories or melancholy reflections. We never tire of watching its elfin flames in mad pvn-suit of one another, playing tag over the burning logs, or sedately tripping along like timid maidens up the church aisle. We love to hear them purr and hum as they lull us to a delightful mood of indolent reverie, or crackle and roar as if sounding drums and trumpets to heroic action. But aside from idle fancies, nothing equals the fireplace in making the room cozy and homelike. Modern heating systems may adequately solve the problem of regular and even temperatures, but there is nothing especially genial or inviting about them. But around your genial fireplace, reminiscent as it is ot human fellowship from before the days when history began, your friends find an inviting kindli- ness that unlocks the heart and incites the fancy to all manner of happy thoughts, intimate confidences, and friendly converse. And what can be more delightful than to see the happy children crowding around the glowing embers to toast marshmallows, pop corn, or roast chestnuts! On the strictly practical side, while the fireplace, except in very moderate climates, will make little effect on the winter's cold, it will be exceedingly welcome in the early days of spring and late days of autumn. From every point of view, aesthetic, sentimental, and practical, every house, no matter what it is built of, should have at least one good fireplace where family and friends may foregather in happy converse. And what other materia! is there which is so good or appropriate for the construction of the fireplace as brick? Having stood the test of flame in their making, they defy it in their use. The feeling that the roaring fire on the hearth beats harmlessly against the enduring brick, as the sea beats in vain against a granite headland, gives a sense of security and satisfaction. Then, on the artistic side, not only do the small convenient brick units per- mit a great variety of designs that fit admirably into the scale of the room, but the color and texture of the brick allow the widest choice of decorative motives to harmonize with the interior color scheme, as the lady of the house may choose, and the interior decorator will find in face brick a medium that readily yields any result at which he aims. HAVING selected the design you want, the color and texture of the brick, and, what is also very important, the color, kind, and width ot mortar joint, you are ready for the following pages in which we show you the correct methods tor constructing a successful fireplace. We furnish the working drawings ot any ot the preceding fireplace designs tor one dollar. All the dimensions given are based on the use ot standard sizes and shapes of brick laid with a quarter or halt-inch mortar joint as indicated in connection with the illustra- tions. It you wish to use a larger joint you can easily calculate the ditlerence thus made by counting the number of joints. In fact, you can easily draw the entire fireplace tor yourselt by tollowing the methotls of construction we advise, and determine the dimensions by counting the number of brick and joints, taking the standard size of face brick to be approximately 8 inches in length, 2^4 inches in height, and from 3'^i to 3^^ inches in width, always counting in the width ot the mortar joint you want. To be absolutely accurate, however, you should take the exact measurement ot the particular brick you intend to use and, adding the chosen joint, get your unit for calculating tlimensions. It you find the dimensions ot the ciesign you want a little too large or too small for the space you have, send us the exact dimensions you want your fireplace to fill, the size of the brick and the width of the mortar joint you preter, and we will indicate on our drawings what is to be done to make such changes. This does not mean that we will make new designs. However, you can easily change the ilimensions for yourselt, by units of one brick in height anil a halt brick in breadth, always taking into consideration the mortar joint. We suggest, as you will see, a number ot mottoes which may be inscribed in various ways on some part of the fireplace. If the mantel shelf is heavy enough, the inscription may be placed on the edge. Perhaps an oak panel bearing the motto may be used to replace two courses of brick in the chimney breast, or, in similar manner, plaster may be used and tinted any color to harmonize with the brick or trimmings. Location and Proper Construction of Fireplace The location ot the fireplace in the room is of great importance to its enjoy- ment. As it is the most ornamental feature of the interior of the house, it should be given a prominent position, but it should not be in the line of travel through the room, near the entrance iloor, or where a cross draft sweeps it. The tar end ot the room is one of the best locations. If placed on the broad side ot the average room, care should be taken to see that it does not reduce the practicable width ot the room and force the rug o\cr the hearth. If placed on an outside wall, it is better not to have large fianking windows, as that would mean facing too much light whenever the fireplace was used during the day. The one serious fault in a fireplace is a poor draft which results in smoke pouring into the room. This fault may be avoided by the proper construction of the fireplace and chimney. With a good draft you not only avoid a smoky chimney but you constantly get fresh air which is being drawn into the room from the outside, thus making very perfect ventilation. Next to a good draft, as a fundamental necessity, is the desirability of getting the maximum of heat which also is secured by the proper construction. A Good Draft A good draft depends upon the proper relation ot fireplace openmg to the size of the flue, the chimney height, and the position of the throat which deter- mines the important matter of the smoke shelf. Whatever the size of the fire- place, the actual inside area of the flue should be approximately, but never less than, one-tenth of the area of the fireplace opening, except possibly where, because of a strong draft due to an exceptionally high chimney, the flue area may be somewhat reduced. Each fireplace should have its own individual flue, carried full size to the top ot ^^ ' -MANTEL nr the chimney, without connections of any kind from other sources, and the chimney should be carried at least one foot above the highest point of the roof. Nor should the chimney, so far as possible, be over- topped by nearby clumps of trees or neighboring buildings which may cause strong eddies in the wind to drive down the chimney. See Fig. 2. For wood-burning fireplaces a low broad opening will catch the smoke and ciirect it up the chimney better than a narrow and high one which is frequently used for coal grates. With arched openings, take their aver- age height as the top line. For your convenience, we give you a table of commercial flue linings, showing inside areas with which you may compare a tenth of your opening area. As you are not likely to find the exact correspondent size, use the lining which in net area is next above the actual tenth of the fireplace opening, except in the case already mentioned where a few square inches less in area will make no essential difference. Much depends for a good draft on the throat which is the narrow opening above the fire for the escape of smoke and gases into the flue. The ideal form of a fireplace

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