The Fireplace at Yule-tide
December, 1912. Published by the Bungalow Publishing Co., Incorporated. An Illustrated Monthly Magazine Devoted Exclusively to Artistic Bungalow Homes
Cover of Bungalow Magazine - 1912
In this, the season of quiet evenings spent within the four walls of home, we are again reminded of the warm welcome which always awaits us when we turn to our cheery old friend, the fireplace. Standing upon the hearth rug, bathed in the ruddy glow of the firelight, the weight of care and weariness and vexation of spirit slips from us like a garment, and is whisked away up the chimney, while the wind croons a soft, wierd lullaby, and bids us rest. From the friendly depths of a sleepy-hollow chair, we gaze forth upon a little world all our own, and lay plans for a future which is to be bigger and better because of the home influence which hovers over us like a benediction. A gust of wind brings rain and sleet against the window panes, and we draw yet a little closer to the fire, which seems always beckoning—beckoning. Above it the wide mantel awaits the Christmas fringe of stockings, large and small, filled with the mysterious parcels to dear to the hearts of all of use; and the little red and yellow goblins which the children tell us are dwellers in the fireplace, keep vigil over all, sputtering in gleeful anticipate of the joys of Christmas morning. Verily, what is Christmas without the fireplace with its yule-log? The two have been inseparably associated since the landing of the pilgrim fathers on the New England shores, when Christmas Eve oft found the settler stretched at length before the fireplace, asleep, with his trusty rifle beside him, and stern necessity made Christmas Day less of a holiday then we find it in this generation. But the true spirit of Christmas was there, and down the beaten trail of the years comes the faint echo of the call—"Hear ye! Hear ye! Peace on earth, good will to men."
And so we see that after all no home is quite complete without the fireplace. For those who can afford it, hundreds of dollars may be spent upon this feature of the home; for those less opulent, a small expenditure will, with a good design, secure a fireplace none the less cozy and inviting. It is difficult to imagine a more homelike and touching scene than that shown in the frontispiece of this issue—an inexpensive little mantel, all in readiness for the awakening of the children on Christmas morning.
Other accompanying half-tones illustrate several types of mantels, each of which is distinctive and artistic in its cost class. In constructing a fireplace, its coziness can be enhanced by placing it, if possible, in a "nook" or alcove, arranged with fixed seats at each side of the breast, with the friendly book-shelf near at hand.
In the bungalow design, a rustic, unconventional mantel is more in keeping than is the formal type with delicate mouldings and ornamentation. The low, wide fireplace opening; the exposed chimney breast extending clear to the ceiling; the massive plain mantel shelf, are in better taste than the narrow, tall, elaborately finished mantel of the pretentious mansion. The fireplace opening is often four and even six feet in width, permitting a fire of cord-wood.
For the mantel breast a great variety of materials may be used; including pressed, common, rock-faced, tapestry, and clinker brick, cobble stone, rubble masonry, and all varieties of tile. In fact, there are so many acceptable materials that a selection will sometimes be found difficult to make.
The fireplace is not necessarily inefficient for heating purposes, notwithstanding a prevalent opinion to the contrary. With a good throat damper, and there are many on the market today, a fireplace properly constructed will throw out a great volume of heat, will not smoke, and will hold fire for hours.
The above article is from the Christmas 1912 edition of Bungalow Magazine from the collection of Robert Schweitzer.
The Historic Christmas Celebration
© 1995-2011 The Arts & Crafts Society. All Rights Reserved.
site by canright