What Are Fireplace Andirons?
If you are a new owner of a fireplace, you are probably asking yourself, "What are fireplace andirons?" The following article reveals the origin of this interesting fireplace accessory, dating back to the 1500s. Since then, andirons have evolved into a fireplace tool with eye-appeal as well as utilitarian function.
The rich history of a traditional tool
While fireplace grates typically take the place of andirons in many homes, this traditional implement gives any hearth a classic look without sacrificing its original purpose. In form, the andiron is an iron bar arranged horizontally that serves as a support for logs on an open fire. They generally appear in pairs, forming what is traditionally called a firedog, dog or dog-iron. From their original incarnation from the 1500s to the 1700s, andirons have served an additional function as a prop for preparing roasts on a spit or even heating a kettle of porridge. Constructed out of a variety of materials like bronze, copper or steel, the andiron guard is generally accentuated with intricate decorative symbols of heraldry. These symbols include figures from mythology, the Egyptian Sphinx and the Phoenix. Canine representations are common, reflecting the firedog imagery.
Andirons undergo an aesthetic evolution
Andirons designed before the Renaissance period are somewhat drab and merely utilitarian; however, creative artists have transformed the ordinary andirons into the skilled work of craftsmen. Fine furniture makers now produce elaborate, decorative andirons in cast iron and stainless steel styles. Museums and castles in France are home to some of the earliest examples of iron fireplace tools.
Fireplace andirons have come a long way over the centuries since their introduction. This indispensable fireplace tool is now available in a number of styles to match any room decor.