Grate - Encyclopedia

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GRATE (from Lat. crates, a hurdle), the iron or steel receptacle for a domestic fire. When coal replaced logs and irons were found to be unsuitable for burning the comparatively small lumps, and for this reason and on account of the more concentrated heat of coal it became necessary to confine the area of the fire. Thus a basket or cage came into use, which, as knowledge of the scientific principles of heating increased, was succeeded by the small grate of iron and fire-brick set close into the wall which has since been in ordinary use in England. In the early part of the 19th century polished steel grates were extensively used, but the labour and difficulty of keeping them bright were considerable, and they were gradually replaced by grates with a polished black surface which could be quickly renewed by an application of black-lead. The most frequent form of the filth-century grate was rather high from the hearth, with a small hob on each side. The brothers Adam designed many exceedingly elegant grates in the shape of movable baskets ornamented with the paterae and acanthus leaves, the swags and festoons characteristic of their manner. The modern dog-grate is a somewhat similar basket supported upon dogs or andirons, fixed or movable. In the closing years of the 19th century a "well-grate" was invented, in which the fire burns upon the hearth, combustion being aided by an air-chamber below.

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