Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
Perry Debell - English Dealers?
From: "Perry Debell"
To:
Cc:
Subject: Dealers in England
Date: Sat, 3 Dec 2005

Hello Jim,

Superb website. I found it through Wikipedia which mentioned Count Rumford's activities two days ago. A swift Google took me to you and I have been reading your articles for hours.

Back in the 1960's in the UK there was a quasi-governmental organisation callled the National Coal Board set up when Labour nationalised the coal mines in 1948. In 1962 I managed to work for the NCB for 3 years 5 months and to achieve promotion I went to evening classes studying "Solid Fuel: Production Distribution & Utilisation" for 2 years. Bizarre!

At that time, open coal fires were much in use, burning bituminous coal. The design of these smoke producers were so archaic that we had to bring in a Clean Air Act. http://www.uksmokecontrolareas.co.uk

The Rumford fireplace was never considered as far as I can discover, although Parkray produced a "smoke eater". http://www.solidfuel.co.uk/frame/main.html

It seems it is time for a change. The UK is facing 10% gas and electricity shortfalls this winter, so next spring the open fireplace will be the new choice of many. I see a business opportunity on the horizon.

Do you export?

Regards,
Perry Debell


Full correspondence chonologically most recent first

4/24/06

BTW, when I used Dogpile to search for info on Rumfords, I happened on Hart Rumford site which advocates using metal forms for shaping the throat. The rationale seems flawed to me, because there is an extra day of construction to allow the concrete to dry. The costings do not add up. Better to get the job done earlier and get on with the next contract. With that in mind, do I order throats and smoke chambers from you or Superior Clay?

The Isokern firebox is a traditional box http://www.isokern.co.uk/cs_firechests.asp w/o any flair or flare (make of that what you will), so as a heating device it will not be a efficient as the Rumford. However, the pumice flue system is approved for use in the UK, but I do have concerns abouth the limited cross section of the flues.

Even http://www.hepworth-terracotta-chimney-roofing-products.co.uk/main.htm clay flues seem a bit small for the larger Rumfords. The rule of thumb states that the cross section of the flue should be 15% of the fireplace opening. That is with traditional nonstreamlined throat gathers, but the Rumford throat develops faster gas flows that entrain the secondary combustion air into the smoke chambers to minimise Carbon Monoxide emissions. That increases flue gas temperatures, which would seem to improve gas flow velocity. Would that mean smaller flue cross sections available in the UK, could work with 48" Rumfords? The largest Hepworth flue (300 square) is listed at 87,400 square millimetres and that converts to 135.5 sq inches http://convert.french-property.co.uk/#area That is a little over a 13" X 13" flue, for a 36" Rumford.

That is the challenge. Flues will have to comply with the http://www.feta.co.uk/downloads/ADJ%20Supplementary%20Guidance%202004.pdf pages 11 & 15 etc. As masonry chimneys are the way to go, page 33 onward sets out the criteria. I have to establish whether ASTMS standards match the EU requirements w/o tipping off other companies about my plans. Any ideas?

Warm regards, Perry


4/23/06

Perry,

Nice to hear from you. Good luck with your move and recovery. "Born again organ donors", huh? I agree, but don't you worry about your son?

Keep us in mind after you get settled. We compete on occasion with Isokern in the US. We tend to be larger, smaller (i.e. more versatile), more efficient, cleaner, more English - and, if you solve the freight and distribution issues, probably less expensive.

Keep in touch. I'd like to stay informed about your adventure and I would like to know as much as I can about the English masonry fireplace and chimney business.

Warm regards, Jim Buckley


Hi Jim,

No, I haven't forgotten Rumfords. Ill health caught me out and I have been rethinking my priorities. My sons (17 & 15) and I have decided to sell up here in NW London and move to Kent and live on the SE coast near Dungeness. There are houses that look out to sea in a lovely part of England. (Google Lydd on Sea, Romney Marsh.) This is an area which is going to have unprecedated growth when the Domestic Service commuter trains start running on the Channel Tunnel High Speed link in 2009. Ashford to St Pancras, London in 35 minutes. http://www.lcrhq.co.uk/

A great place to start selling Rumfords. Here in the UK, supplies of firewood tend to be hit and miss, but http://www.woodnet.org.uk/woodlots/advert/Wood%20Fuel.htm lists a good number of suppliers in Kent and Sussex so that is that challenge solved. I think we shall have moved by July and I am setting up an advertising campaign to start in June.There are also two local shows mentioned on the Woodnet site that we shall attend.

I see from http://www.nace.org.uk/ that there is only one chimney builder in Kent http://www.instantchimneys.com/ using the very good Isokern system. I think I shall go with http://www.anki.co.uk/pdf/Price-List-May-2005.pdf

That's it for now. I am waiting for a CAT scan on my lungs as I seem to have developed some pulmonary fibrosis, which I feel is not fair as I have never smoked and have avoided smoky environments. I'll just have to work at a slower pace I suppose. On a lighter note, my son Ashley 17, just passed his motor bike test and so he became the first of my 3 lads to drive the old man around. It was good fun and reminded me of my CB 175 Honda back in 1970. I don't think I can be tempted to get another bike. Born again bikers are known as organ donors over here.

Warm regards, Perry


2/9/06

Perry,

Of course you can use pictures from our website.

As for US standards, it's mostly just the International Residential Code and that just says stuff like make the firebox 8" thick and keep it 2" away from combustible material. EU codes may say something similar and, of course you should follow local code. Clay flues have to meet an ASTM standard which is basically a freeze/thaw standard similar to severe weather brick only more stringent - 8% absorption instead of 12%.

Let me know what you find out. I'd be interested in EU requirements.

Best, Jim Buckley


Hello Jim,

Thanks for that. As for shipping to the UK, I am giving that serious consideration if the EU will accept the US standards. I am awaiting a reply from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (John Prescott) about just that subject.

Could I use some of the images from your site to show to clients?

Warm regards, Perry


1/27/06

Perry,

It's better to cut the sides out of two flues and put them together to make one larger two part custom flue. The turbulence at the manifold and the extra surface area add so much resistance that two small flues are barely better than one.

That advice is on line at http://www.rumford.com/tech5.html

You might consider getting the flues from us. The freight isn't any more than shipping them to California, which we do regularly.

Best, Jim


Hello Jim,

Are chimney stacks containing two sets of flue liners for one large fireplace feasible? I believe you have discussed this on your site, but I cannot find it again.It would seem that UK fireplaces are pokey little holes in the wall with a maximum width of 20" and fitted with forward sloping firebacks, so only a very limited range of flue liners are available here. It is as if fireplace designers have never heard of Rumford and his successes. A case of re-inventing the wheel with four square sides?

Warm regards, Perry


12/26/05
Perry,

Thanks for your email, Perry. I am aware of some of the work done by the National Coal Board but, for being on the road in Montana and Iowa, I haven't had time to study the links you suggest - but I will next week.

I think and hope you are right about a business opportunity. An English Rumford revival would be only fitting since Rumford's objective, in no small part, was to improve fireplaces so they would burn cleaner in order to clean up London's 18th century atmosphere. And he was successful. Rumfords are still cleaner than the cleanest EPA certified woodstoves - without the benefit of any modern "engineering".

We have sold a few Rumfords in the UK but we have no sales representation. One of the things I hope to do next year is to go to the UK to find out how masonry fireplaces are sold and built there. We have heard that most fireplaces sold in the UK, like in the US, are metal appliances. We have even heard that clay flue liners are no longer available in the UK.

I'd be happy hear your suggestions and learn from your insights.

Warm regards,
Jim Buckley

> From: "Perry Debell"
To:
Cc:
Subject: Dealers in England
Date: Sat, 3 Dec 2005

Hello Jim,

Superb website. I found it through Wikipedia which mentioned Count Rumford's activities two days ago. A swift Google took me to you and I have been reading your articles for hours.

Back in the 1960's in the UK there was a quasi-governmental organisation callled the National Coal Board set up when Labour nationalised the coal mines in 1948. In 1962 I managed to work for the NCB for 3 years 5 months and to achieve promotion I went to evening classes studying "Solid Fuel: Production Distribution & Utilisation" for 2 years. Bizarre!

At that time, open coal fires were much in use, burning bituminous coal. The design of these smoke producers were so archaic that we had to bring in a Clean Air Act. http://www.uksmokecontrolareas.co.uk

The Rumford fireplace was never considered as far as I can discover, although Parkray produced a "smoke eater". http://www.solidfuel.co.uk/frame/main.html

It seems it is time for a change. The UK is facing 10% gas and electricity shortfalls this winter, so next spring the open fireplace will be the new choice of many. I see a business opportunity on the horizon.

Do you export?

Regards,
Perry Debell

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