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An Outdoor Fireplace with Rumford--In True 18th Century Style

May 20, 2013
BY KCharles

The Most Famous Indoor Fireplace gets back to Nature....

With warmer weather finally here, we are starting to think about what the outdoor patio may be lacking. If its the charm and character of an outdoor fireplace, we can indulge you a little bit on the traditional charm and character of the famed Rumford Outdoor Fireplace.

A little about Rumford:

The Rumford fireplace is a tall, shallow fireplace designed by Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford, an Anglo-American physicist who was known for his investigations of heat.

Rumford applied his knowledge of heat to the improvement of fireplaces. He made them smaller and shallower with widely angled covings so they would radiate better. By streamlining the throat, or in his words "rounding off the breast" so as to "remove those local hindrances which forcibly prevent the smoke from following its natural tendency to go up the chimney..." a true clean-burning stove was created.

As a result, the Rumford fireplace became famed almost immediately during the 1790's, eventually becoming state of the art worldwide. With the resurgence of historic home renovations, Rumford fireplaces are truly enjoying a comeback.

Rumford Moves Outside:

A Rumford outdoor fireplace is built just like an indoor fireplace except you don't need a damper, you do however, need to use a hydraulic-setting, and a non water soluble refractory mortar. The clearance-to-combustibles and other code issues are then much easier to follow.

Any outdoor fireplace may smoke a bit in a breeze. The fireplace should be sheltered from the wind with the chimney built as tall as possible and the opening positioned a little lower to improve the draft. Additionally, a chimney pot can be added to increase the effective height of the chimney itself.


rumfordbuild Rumford Fireplace--Internal View

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Completed Rumford Outdoor Fireplace


General Recommendations:

Here are some important points to remember when considering a Rumford Outdoor Fireplace:

  • Shelter the fireplace from the wind
  • Build the chimney as tall as you can
  • Build the fireplace opening a little lower
  • Don't build it too near the house or other tall obstructions--or build the chimney taller than these obstructions
  • Add a screen in front of the fireplace when its breezy or even glass doors when its really windy
  • If you build the surround out more than 4" to make the fireplace deeper, don't come straight out as it seems to direct any breeze into the fireplace. Rather, build the surround out in two or three steps to discourage the breeze.
  • If the fireplace is built within an enclosure or porch, make sure there is a way for any smoke that does escape to get out of the enclosure through a skylight or leeward window.
  • Of course seasoned wood, and the realization that it is an outdoor fireplace after all and will probably smoke occasionally, all help too!
When the party is ready to move outside, we are happy to assist with everything you need to know about planning your outdoor fireplace.
Please contact Stone Farm at:
Tel: 877-977-0004



Tagged With: Outdoor Living


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