Top critical review
41 people found this helpful
Building a Rumford fireplace
on March 21, 2006
When I was building my first home in 1972, I stumbled upon Orton's little book in the Library. I had never built a fireplace before, although I did have a little bit of experience laying block and brick. But Orton inspired me. I knew that I couldn't afford to have a fireplace of my own unless I built it myself. Long story short: I built my Rumford fireplace all by myself, from footer to top of the chimney, using this book as my only guide. And it worked wonderfully. It was unbelievably efficient and smoke free. My kids and I spent many winter evenings "camping out" there in our family room, with the electric baseboard heat turned off. I once built a fire on the front-most edge of the brick hearth (with several fire extinguishers at my side), just to see if this design could really "draw" as well as Orton claimed. It DID! And without any smoke in the room!
This book "clicked" with me for 2 reasons: first he laid out the history behind this invention, the biography of Count Rumford, and WHY this design was so revolutionary. Then he carefully laid out the principles of WHY IT WORKS, the theory and proportions. It was not a heady treatise for engineers, nor did it insult my intelligence with details on "inserting tab A into slot A" as most do-it-yourself books do.
I'm now building my second home -- this one with TWO Rumford fireplaces. And I decided that its high time that I had my own personal copy of this book!