Cast Iron Fireplaces were first introduced in the eighteenth century as hob grates, then register grates that gave heat control for the first time and then as the more familiar cast iron fireplace inserts and combination fireplaces in later Victorian times.
The fireplace became increasingly ornate as the Victorian age progressed. Arched fireplace inserts with marble or slate chimney pieces came into fashion and the fireplace mantel shelves became wider and were covered in clocks and ornaments.
Complete cast iron combination fireplaces and fireplaces with tiles on sliders were introduced late in Victorian times. The tile panels became even larger with the introduction of the Canopy on Legs. The canopy on legs dispensed with a cast iron frame for the tiles. The tiles were cast into their own panels and these were then placed on either side of the canopy at an angle depending on the size of the mantle surrounding the whole ensemble.
Fireplaces made in the Arts and Crafts style are less ornate. Natural forms dominate and abstract patterns were limited to borders and backgrounds. Copper handcrafted fireplace inserts influenced by the "Arts and Crafts" movement were also often found in larger homes.
The Art Nouveau style characterised by long curving lines based on sinuous plant forms, often referred to as whiplash lines, was still popular at the start of the twentieth century but fell out of favour before the first World War. Art Nouveau fireplace have these undulating decoration on the cast iron. Tiles on tile sliders were still common.
At the start of the Edwardian Era most fireplaces were still cast iron frames incorporating tilesets on sliders on either side, usually with a mantlepiece made from slate, pine or deal. Tile panels which had become even larger with the introduction of the Canopy on Legs became very popular
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