One of our many offerings here at Brick + Ember Outfitters is chimney sweeping. It’s a necessary part of owning a working fireplace today, but this art has been around for hundreds of years.  Let’s take a look at the history of this long-standing profession.

The early years

In the 16th Century in England, people built fireplaces in every room in their home as a source of heat. By the 17th Century, wood was replaced by coal as a popular burning agent.

Child labor

Despite its fun portrayal in TV shows and movies like Mary Poppins, chimney cleaning was dangerous due to the amount of soot that sweepers were exposed to. For this very reason, the job was often left up to orphan boys who would be trained by a chimney master. This lasted until 1864 when Parliament passed an act that ended the child labor.

Various methods

After Parliament’s act, a variety of cleaning devices came on the market to help clean and brush walls of a chimney from one end to the other. In the 18th century, Joseph Glass invented a set of canes and brushes that could be used from the fireplace to clean clear to the top. Modern versions of this invention are still in use today.

From coal to gas and electricity

In the 1960s, gas and electricity replaced coal as the main heating source for homes; however, when the price of fossil fuels rose dramatically in the 1970s, people returned to burning wood in their fireplaces. Since their fireplaces had not been used for a long period of time, house fires and carbon monoxide poisonings were common.

The art of chimney sweeping has come a long way from sending children with brushes into flues. Today, professional chimney sweeps are highly educated and are trained to diagnose problems and perform repairs. They provide homeowners and businesses with valuable services that keep heating systems, fireplaces, flues, stoves, and chimneys working safely and effectively.

Are you in need of a chimney sweep? If so, contact Brick + Ember Outfitters today.