The convenience and comfort of modern HVAC is a technological success story. By changing a few settings on a thermostat we can control indoor climate in a manner that our ancestors would have never imagined.
The idea of the fireplace as the centerpiece of the parlor, living room, or family room led to the creation of a new building-products category. The masonry firebox and flue, the wooden millwork of the mantelpiece, and the fireplace accessories were all part of the complete package.
Since then, fireplace design has evolved alongside architectural genres, from the simplicity of the Colonial period to the lavishness of the Victorian era. By the mid-20th century, the fireplace masonry’s massing became its major feature while the hearth was reduced to a simple opening. Decorative fireplaces with no ability to provide heat were the final evolution of the product in the 20th century, when form triumphed over function.