The evolution of fire and wood burning stoves over the years

How it all began… When people learnt how to control fire

The development of fire is a vast subject that spans thousands of years, beginning with Homo sapiens teaching Neanderthals (Figure 1) how to use a hand-drill technique to start a fire and ending with the most complex wood burners that offer controllable warmth to your home for hours on end.

The development took years, it all began in the Stone Age when people learnt how to control fire and it happened in a friendly manner in the cave as people sat in small groups and started fires to keep warm or to cook food. Unfortunately, the emitted smoke included a massive number of pollutants. Furthermore, the heat output was not ideal either.  However, it is worth pointing out that they had no ventilation therefore it contained lots of toxins.

(Figure 1, Lifepersona 2022)

The Invention of The First Wood Burning Stove

Many generations have sought to create something sustainable that could be utilised instead of an open fire. Fortunately, the first stove was found in late 1700 by Benjamin Franklin (figure 2) It was a tremendous breakthrough for domestic wood burning and it transformed the course of the industry. It was a metal-lined fireplace with a hollow baffle designed to keep more heat in the fireplace for longer. The stove itself was a box of cast iron panels held together by iron screws that were inserted during the casting process. Furthermore, this stove provided some ventilation, but it was nothing spectacular, and the strove was not popular; nevertheless, it did provide an idea of where to go with stoves in the future.

(Figure 2, Wikipedia 2022)

When the new regulation comes along…

People did not have to wait long until an American astronomer constructed a new updated ‘Franklin stove’ and came up with the notion of venting wood burners using an L-shaped stovepipe. Wood burning stoves evolved over the following few years, but they would never pass today’s regulations. It is critical to note that back then, there were no regulations or rules, and they had little understanding of climate change and its influence on the planet. Unfortunately, the situation had deteriorated to the point that London’s Great Smog occurred in 1952.

However, in 1956, the United Kingdom Parliament passed a new legislation known as the Clean Air Act. The Act enacted a variety of measures aimed at reducing air pollution. The primary one was enforced transition toward smokeless fuels, particularly in high population ‘smoke control regions,’ to minimise smoke pollution and sulphur dioxide emissions from domestic fires. The Act also includes regulations to decrease gas, grit, and dust emissions from chimneys and smokestacks. Furthermore, in the 1980s, the EPA enforced an emission limit for wood-burning stoves at 7.5 grammes in order to force stove manufacturers to improve technology and start caring about the environment. The laws evolved over time, leading to new building codes and EcoDesign Ready models that everyone must follow in order to acquire a wood burning stove.

Here We Are… EcoDesign as a Solution for New Regulations

EcoDesign (Figure 3) laws establish new minimum efficiency  levels and maximum emission limits for solid fuel-burning room heater stoves, boiler-equipped room heater stoves, and kitchen equipment.

(Figure 3, DecoHeat 2022)

If you are looking for EcoDesign wood burning stoves, we would like to introduce you to our Woolly Mammoth EcoDesign Ready 2022 collection, which incorporates fully adjustable primary, secondary, and tertiary air intakes to produce clean and efficient combustion of all solid fuels, reducing the amount of refuelling required and, as a result, lowering running costs.

Now You Know How It All Began… Let’s Recall Together

Let’s recall what we know so far… The evolution of fire, and more specifically wood burning stoves, began in Stone Age era and has continued over time to the point where we have sophisticated technology that improves their performance, efficiency, safety, and attention to the environment. Can you imagine going from a simple fire to a high-performance wood burning stove with incredible efficiency and cutting-edge technology? You’re probably wondering, what now? Follow the link below to find out more about how the new legislation will affect you in 2022!

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