Antique Fireplace Inserts
Antique fireplace inserts also known as cast iron inserts or cast iron grates first started to make an appearance during the early Victorian period. Although not as popular as combination grates fireplace inserts came in a range of styles such as arched type and with or without tiles. Victorian fireplace inserts were also very versatile as they could be combined with a range of fire surrounds of the same period.
Original arched fireplace inserts can be easily recognized by a protruding centralized arched semi-circle starting at the top of the grate then vertical lines protruding down to the base. The protruding area was sometimes plain or decorated with various patterns and motifs typical of the Victorian period. Originally arched grates had front bars to prevent any fuel spilling onto the hearth. The front bars were typically decorated to match the decoration of the arch but designs were usually less decorative. Span covers usually had similar decoration to the front bars while the dampers were a key area for intricate decoration and detailing. Dampers were used on solid fuel fires to close off the chimney opening when the fire was not being used to prevent drought and unwanted cold air entering the room.
Antique tiled fireplace inserts first became popular during the reign of Queen Victoria. The huge selection of different tile designs available at the time allowed people to customize their fireplace to fit the style of their rooms. Many of the Victorian’s, especially the middle class and aristocracy saw fireplaces not just as a heat source but as a decorative luxury that represented their wealth and stature. It wasn’t unusual for the middle class and aristocracy to have a fireplace in almost every room such as the living room, drawing room or bedroom. Some of the finest examples of fireplaces and originally tiled grates came from Victorian houses as British manufacturing was flourishing, raw materials were cheaper and much of the upper and middle class had surplus money to spend on fine luxury items. During the last 10 years of the Victorian Era, the Art Nouveau style became popular; this style first originated from Paris, France and meant “ New Art” in French. The design has been described as a “rhythmic floral pattern” or the “sudden violent curves generated by the crack of a whip”.
Tiled fireplace grates were popular during the Edwardian period and were used again as both decorate and functional items. Designs became much plainer during the Edwardian period and shapes became more geometrical, unlike original Victorian tiled grates where designs were very intricate and varied in design and decoration. In the 1920’s, 10 years after the reign of King Edward VII a new art and style became popular originating in Paris called “ Art Deco”. The Art Deco art and style could be described as plain linear symmetry, such as straight lines and circles a far cry from the flowing asymmetrical designs of the Art Nouveau style.
We have a selective range of original fireplace inserts available for viewing. Our team of professional craftsmen have renovated and restored each to its natural beauty, just as it would have been when first manufactured.
All of our antique fireplace inserts are suitable for solid fuel, alternatively we can supply living flame gas fires, electric or bioethanol fires which can be made to measure, please contact us for a price.
Always call us before coming down to view any of our antique fireplaces as we have so many they can’t all possibly be on display. Let us know what antique fireplaces you are interested in and we can make sure they are on display when you come to visit the showroom.