The Rumford Fireplace – An Early Modern Fireplace Design

The Rumford Fireplace, invented in the late 18th century, was one of the most important innovations in fireplace technology at the time. Learn more about its history and how it works now!

The History Of The Rumford Fireplace


The Rumford Fireplace was first prototyped by Sir Benjamin Thompson, also known as the Count of Rumford. He was an American-born British physicist, who was very interested in studying heat and convection.

He created this fireplace in the 1790s, by creating a shallow, small fireplace with widely-angled sides to reflect heat into the room more efficiently. The fireplace quickly became a sensation in London and spread throughout the world.


How It Works


Beyond its angled sides, the principal innovation of the Rumford Fireplace was the idea of restricting the chimney opening using bricks. This, in turn, resulted in a stronger updraft due to the rising hot air, and counter-circulation of cold air, which drove the smoke up through the chimney more efficiently. This also minimized turbulence, and allowed more heated air to enter the room, while minimizing heat loss due to a large, open flue.

Rumford Fireplaces Are Still Used Today!

Despite being centuries old, the Rumford fireplace is still a design used in homes today. It’s extremely efficient and does not take up much space in the home. Not only was it an important innovation in Rumford’s time, but his legacy continues into the modern era.