Designed for fuel efficiency, the Rumford fireplace was an 18th century 5-Star energy saver.
The unique fireplace construction was designed by Benjamin Thomas, born in 1753 in Massachusetts, but a later resident of Europe. He moved to first to England, and then to Germany where he became an expert in the study of heat.
The Rumford fireplace is characterized by a rounded throat to slow the escape of hot air up the chimney, and by a wide and shallow opening to deflect heat back into the room.
Owing to the many New England homes built in the 18th and 19th centuries, Rumford fireplaces take a prominent place in many a Cape Cod home. In fact, the Rumford fireplace was a design feature in homes well into the 20th century as evidenced by the video, above, of a Rumford fireplace in a 1973 home for sale in South Eastham, near the Cape Cod National Seashore.
The intersection of heat efficiency and warmth of mood and temperature, a Rumford fireplace is just right for living rooms and family rooms throughout the U.S., 250 years after the birth of the inventor who gave the unique heating method its name.
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