History of the Rumford Fireplace.

Count Rumford, an Anglo-American physicist for whom the “Rumford” fireplace is named after, was born as "Benjamin Thompson" in Woburn, Massachusetts in 1753, just before the American Revolution. Hated for his betrayal, but loved for his contributions to science.

Benjamin wrestled out a homemade education in Boston and, when he was only 18, went off to Rumford, New Hampshire (later to be known as Concord), as its new schoolmaster. He soon married a wealthy widow, and took up spying on the colonies for the British.

When the colonists learned what he was up to, he deserted his wife and new daughter and fled to England, and later ended up in Europe, where he was made a Count of the Holy Roman Empire and took the name of the American town he'd once fled, Rumford. And it's Count Rumford whom history remembers.

While in Europe Count Rumford, through many experiments with friction and heat, set about designing a fireplace to be an effective radiant heater.

His research produced a tall, shallow firebox with widely flared sides and a streamlined throat to eliminate turbulence and efficiently carry away the smoke. The design reflected huge amounts of heat over a wide area, with little heated room air being lost up the chimney.

Outside combustion air was fed to the fire via a vent, allowing the fireplace to maintain high temperatures, thus increasing the heat storing capacity of its refractory materials (brick and mortar). The Rumford design allowed for the complete combustion of the wood, leaving only fine ash for disposal.

Almost immediately after writing about his design in the 1790's his "Rumford fireplace" became state-of-the-art worldwide. In fact Jefferson had them installed at Monticello, and Thoreau listed them among the modern conveniences of his time that everyone took for granted.

Rumford was a very active inventor. In addition to his fireplace design he invented such things as: the double boiler, the modern kitchen range, the drip coffeepot, central heating, the kitchen oven, thermal underwear, the pressure cooker, and numerous other inventions. He was also responsible for bringing James Watt's steam engine into widespread use.

Today, with the renewed interest and popularity of early American and classical architecture, Rumford fireplaces are enjoying a comeback mainly for their tall classic elegance and superb heating efficiency.

The Rumford design fireplaces that Jim Young Masonry produces are not prefab inserts from a factory. They are built on sight from the ground up. Just like they were back in Count Rumfords day.

For more info on Count Rumford check out:
Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford - from Wikipedia
Rumford, Benjamin Thompson
The Life & Legend of Count Rumford
Count Rumford: Scientist, Inventor, Innovator, Spy