Tuesday, October 27, 2009

an update on the possible Rumford fireplace at Lorenzo

Lorenzo was open and quiet when I stopped by in September. That was good. I wanted to look again at the kitchen fireplace and see if it really did have Rumford boilers. The tour guides were gracious, welcoming, and as curious as I was. One had given me the tour last year. It was fun to continue our conversation as we investigated.

The Lorenzo kitchen fireplace has brick work to the right of the firebox itself with holes for pots to sit in, and openings below where coals could be set under the pots. The flue above the pots belongs to the beehive oven. There is none behind the boilers as Rumford suggests. The system is built very close to the floor, not at 'counter height' as shown in the drawings in Asher Benjamin's pattern book.

The fireplace itself now serves as the alcove for a cook stove. It's been bricked in and is covered up.

Of course, this just leads to more questions: Did John Lincklaen know of Rumford's writings? If not, why are the boilers there? What instructions did he give to his masons? How well did the system work? Did other homeowners around Lorenzo copy this fireplace?

I find I am as interested in the spread of knowledge as in the use of new technology.

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