Collections › MESDA Collection › Fireback

Fireback

Artist/Maker:
Aera Furnace
Place Made:
York County South Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
1779-1795
Medium:
cast iron
Dimensions:
HOA 22; WOA 26 3/4; Weight:86lb.
Accession Number:
4490.2
Description:
DESCRIPTION: Fireback; rounded arch top with slight s-curves on both sides atop straight sides; A faint beadwork outlines the S-curves and the arch 1 1/2″ from the top.

FORM: Firebacks served the dual purpose of protecting fragile brick at the backs of fireplaces and reflecting heat into rooms. The earliest known examples date to the mid-16th century, about which time fires were moved from the centers of halls beneath roof holes to chimneys.

History:
This particular fireback descended in the Ball family with a history of use at Middleburg Plantation. One of the oldest houses in South Carolina, Middleburg’s original two-story frame house was built in 1699 for the French Huguenot planter Benjamin Simons (d. 1717). The AERA FURNACE fireback was probably installed during the post-Revolutionary additions and improvements made to the house by his grandson, Benjamin Simons (1737-1789).
Credit Line:
Gift of James Gendron Gibbs in memory of his mother Anne Simons Ball Gibbs