From: "phil gray"
Subject: Are these Rumford's.
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 2002
We just purchased a center chimney cape circa 1790-1800 in Mystic,CT. We had the three fireplaces restored and would like to know if these are rumford's. Hopefully you can tell by these pictures.
And very interesting fireplaces they are, too. They are a little wide in the back for Rumfords but there were many variations and many American Rumfords did have wider firebacks or were deeper because Americans had plenty of wood (compared with the English) and sometimes built their fireplaces to accommodate larger logs.
From the pictures, I would say that your fireplaces are at least "Rumford influenced". A little more information might lead to a more definitive answer: Are the throats at the top of the openings rounded as Rumford specified? When, more precisely, was the house built? Rumford didn't publish his first fireplace essay until 1796 so if the house were built before 1796 they wouldn't be Rumford fireplaces - unless the fireplaces were rebuilt, as many were, later. The fireplace look to be about four feet wide and, if so, that's a little large for Rumfords (unless the rooms are especially large), indicating they might be of earlier vintage.
What exactly did you have done to "restore" the fireplaces and did you take pictures or make notes describing the original un-restored fireplaces? Is that an oven next to one of the fireplaces? What rooms are the fireplaces in and what are the dimensions of the firebox and throat?
Pretty as the stonework is, unless the fireplaces were strictly utilitarian fireplaces in the kitchen, they would have probably had a plaster surround, plastered firebox and probably a wooden mantle or be set in a paneled wall. They probably looked sort of like the well researched reproduction 1796 Rumford on our website at http://www.rumford.com/classicphoto.html
If you know or learn more about your fireplaces, let me know. I would be very interested.
Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
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