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Firebacks History

In the 18th Century, no American colonial fireplace was truly complete without a cast iron fireback, a legacy of the colonists' European heritage.

Although most 18th century firebacks were designed and cast specifically for the fireplace, some were actually recycled stove plates. The five and six-plate stoves from which they were derived were installed in rooms behind the fireplace and shared a common wall. A cut-through allowed for the use of a single flue for both rooms and for fuel from the fireplace to be inserted in the stove. As stoves were replaced for one reason or another, the stove plates were often made to serve as firebacks for the fireplace, a task for which they were well suited.

True 18th century firebacks tended to be formal in design, ideal for parlor and dining room fireplaces. Many featured coats of arms or allegorical subjects; most had arched, ornamental tops. Stove plates, on the other hand, usually featured biblical subjects. American stove plates, for example, bore striking resemblances to the woodcuts in early German bibles.

The Country Iron Foundry primarily reproduces authentic replicas of American and French antique firebacks and stove plates. Click here to see Our Catalog or Request a copy of Our Catalog.

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