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"Almost no one really needs a fireplace nowadays, but almost everybody wants one. Ninety-nine nine percent of the new houses' built to sell for over $15,000 have fireplaces, and half the houses that sell for $10,000 have them too. Even the most uncompromisingly modern architects who measure everything in terms of functional necessity make a sentimental concession in regard to the fireplace. But they have devised new ways to place and new ways to design them. Though its appearance has changed and it may be round as a ball like the one designed by Edgar Tafel or look like an Oriental version of a Franklin stove or be a pit with a vast hood, the hearth is still the symbol of the home.
"Many modern houses are so tightly built, with weather stripping, storm doors, modern insulation, that they need special outside fresh air intakes to create drafts that make an open fire burn. The flue is the secret of a good fireplace, must be a tenth the size of the fireplace opening. There need be no smoke where there is a fire if the fireplace is properly designed. If it smokes it may be because the chamber is too shallow, the flue too small and lacking a smoke chamber, or because the damper is inadequate. For the most part, now that the fireplace is less important as a source of heat, it is better engineered and more effective than ever."
I note the "smoke chamber" so labeled in the Sweeton fireplace section drawing [previous page]. . .
The above seems as if it could have been written last week (except for, course, the prices...)
I just noticed something when looking at this photo of the Schwartz House, completed 1940: The back and sides of this fireplace opening are a continuation of the same brick used throughout the house. I have a feeling that this is what Wright preferred. He specified that on our Lamberson drawings, but it was built with the larger tan colored firebrick. Was this possibly an inevitable concession to building codes? I notice that almost all of the later fireplaces use firebrick inside the opening even if it is a continuation of a wall plane. The Malcolm Willey opening is standard brick...Wrighter wrote:Found my Schwartz photo:
I went back and looked at Tnguy's excellent photos of Usonian fireplaces, (page 7, this thread) and the only one which continued the wall bricks into the opening was Muirhead 1951, (looser building codes for a farm house in rural Illinois?...)
From the front of the hood to the back of the hearth should never exceed 610 mm - [24â€�]. Taking a cross section thru the fireplace from front to back, and assuming the maximum depth - 610 mm - is employed, the center line of the damper should be 305 mm from the front of the hood.
The masonry of the hood is subject to arching action of course, and I find that a 150 x 90 x10 mm angle iron is adequate for quite large openings, even when cantilevered. With bolts set in the footings, passing thru short lengths of pipe welded to the back of the angle and secured with washers and 2 nuts, sufficient counterweight is created to resist the overturning moment. The damper, custom made, and welded up from 5 or 6 mm steel plate, has its back and front flanges set in the bed joints immediately above the top edge of the lintel. [The ends of the damper have no flanges, and are not built in]. This ensures that the throat of the damper is as close to the fire as is feasible. Having computed the necessary width of the throat, it will become obvious that both the inner face of the hood, and the back of the fireplace, will have to slope in order to meet that requirement, as will the front and back faces of the damper. The top of the damper will be level with the smoke shelf.
I'll measure the existing conditions of the Sweeton house firebox and smoke chamber and compare.
http://my.opera.com/TnGuy/albums/showpi ... re=7816082
explains the appearance I noted at Fawcett
where the standard brick is apparently kept painted, while the firebrick is black with soot. . .
To solve this problem at the Malcolm Willey house, Stafford and Steve Sikora had custom firebricks made to the size and the color of the original standard wall brick when replacing the damaged fireplace brick and restoring the Willey fireplace. This is a good example of the attention to detail that occurred in the restoration.
SDR- It looks like Lockridge uses firebrick of the same size as the wall brick allowing for the "weaving"...
with (unpainted) firebrick (?). . .
The Willey restoration tactic represents the ideal, I would think.
DRN selects three of the fourteen pages on fireplaces found in the seventh edition of Ramsey/Sleeper's "Architectural Graphic Standards"
(Â© 1981, John Wiley & Sons). I have scanned them at just over full size.
I think Christian (Samara) may have continuous wall brick in the fireplace, too. See: this photo and this one, too. (I believe the 'lighter' look on the right side of the fireplace is due to the light from the 'heat lamp' being turned on).peterm wrote:.... the only one which continued the wall bricks into the opening was Muirhead 1951
Also, though it is tough to tell from this angle, I believe Krauss may be continuous brick, as well.
When visiting with Elizabeth Richardson (Mrs. Stuart Richardson (1940, Storer 282)) in the mid-1960s, she brought up the subject of television. The Richardson living room is a large triangle, supported on a triangular brick pylon at each apex. One is the fireplace (relatively "normal" opening size; one is the utilities closet; and one is an open "V" with bookshelves, skylight over.) She said "Mr. Wright of course knew when he designed the house that television was coming, and this niche was intended for that. Of course when TV came out and we saw what a horrible squawking intrusion it was, we would never put a thing like that in the living room. So small library it remained.
The house also has a second fireplace in the master bedroom, also in a similar triangular brick pylon. She said, "Stu and I insisted that we have a fireplace in the master bedroom. Mr. Wright advised against it and said we would never use it but he gave it to us anyway. We used it once when we first moved in and we almost died of the heat. We never used it again." In the 1960s, it was used to store Christmas ornaments, with an indian blanket hanging over the opening.
In reviewing my 1960s slides I note that the bedroom chimney does have a metal ductwork extension extending above the brick. This may have been one of a number of "improvements" to Wright's design suggested by family and contractors during construction, to assure it would draw properly. I don't know. The main living room chimney has no such extension, and the fireplace did not smoke.
I also recall at Cooke (Storer 360) there is a masonry extension on the chimney, undoubtedly to help that large corner fireplace draw.
In my own experience when I purchased a house with a soot stained fireplace, the local fireplace doctor suggested a cheap simple solution - a galvanized whirligig at the top of the chimney stack, which sucks air out like crazy.
Approaching the houses, one sees the huge chimney and so anticipates the hearth. This foreshadowing might have something to do with the placement of the fire box--the fireplace as destination more than a source of heat.