A fireback is an accessory for fireplaces often made of cast iron and is placed against the rear wall of a fireplace. The device absorbs heat from the fire within the fireplace and the heat then emanates into the room. The main use of the fireback is therefore to retain and radiate the heat that would otherwise have been lost. Studies have shown that the use of these devices could boost the performance of a fireplace by up to 50%.
Normally the thicker varieties of firebacks are able to radiate more heat into a room for a longer time owing to their capacity to retain more heat. This is important especially due to the fact that wood fuel does not produce that much heat and the fireback will help in supplying more heat a room.
The uses of the device are not limited and in addition to the above mentioned uses, a fireback is also used to reduce the amount of wear and tear on the back wall of a fireplace. The flames from the fire and the heat tend to have a depleting effect on the walls of the fireplace and the fireback comes in to counter this problem.
Those who appreciate art will be glad to know that fireback also come in various artsy designs that are sure to please the eyes. Some of these pieces are adorned with beautiful decorative art and are influenced by ancient pieces that date back centuries.
The oldest reported firebacks are from the 15th century when cast ironing had just been invented. The first pieces were very simple and did not have much aesthetic appeal. Once the skill began to develop, so did the quality of products. There were also a lot of aspects of religion and aristocracy that was associated with fireback and this may explain the reason why great care and detail was applied in the making of the devices.
This attractive and functional piece of furniture has withstood the test of time and still continues to be enjoyed by people many centuries after it was invented. Modern designs can now be found in furniture shops and specific dealers and the range on offer is quite varied, ranging from cast metal to steel. The prices are also quite varied and could start from as low as $50 to as high as $700 for premium and custom made models.