Since the beginning of time, fire has been an element that is necessary for human life to exist and flourish. And because of this focus on fire as a necessity for food and warmth, fireplaces became a vital part of every home. Eventually, fireplaces and their mantelpieces evolved into the stunning architectural features they are today. Here’s how fireplace mantels have changed over the years.
In ancient times, fireplaces did not yet exist, so humans made use of firepits. However, in medieval times, people began creating fireplaces and building them within their homes. Mantelpieces originated in England around the 1100s as functional hoods that went over the fire to catch the smoke. In these times, functionality was more important than aesthetics, so medieval mantels were not as elaborate as the ones in later centuries. However, the invention of these hoods was the beginning of an evolution, shifting the function and look of fireplaces into the mantels we know today.
As time went on, people began designing mantels to reflect their social status and utilize them as architectural statement pieces within the home. In the Victorian Era, ornamental fireplaces and mantelpieces became incredibly popular and were the heart of the home and the centerpiece of any room. In this period, people would display special belongings on their mantels to showcase them as decor. Fireplaces and mantels were also a way for people of the Victorian Era to show their position within society, so the wealthier the family, the more ornate and intricate their mantelpieces.
In the early 1900s, inventors introduced the first central heating systems. However, central heating was not accessible to the masses until the 1950s with the introduction of gas and oil boilers. These systems made fireplaces less necessary for functional use within homes. By the late 1900s, electrical heating became popular, making fireplaces more of an aesthetic than a necessity. Today, fireplaces and mantelpieces remain a common feature in many homes and come in a variety of designs and styles. While floating mantels are the more popular and modern design style for many fireplaces of today, you can still find many vintage-inspired mantelpieces as well.
It’s interesting to see how fireplace mantelpieces have evolved over time. Learning more about these changes can help you choose the best design style for your home’s mantel and fireplace. If you are redesigning your fireplace, Right On Bracket has a durable, high-quality selection of fireplace mantel brackets that will help you complete your home improvement project the right way.