Rum­ford’s Ra­di­ant Idea

Old House Journal - - Restore -

Count Rum­ford’s fire­place de­sign, taller than ear­lier con­ven­tions, was also shal­lower, with widely an­gled cov­ings to bet­ter re­flect and ra­di­ate heat. He ad­vo­cated plas­ter­ing and white­wash­ing the fire­box to keep it clean and re­flec­tive. Mod­ern physi­cists ar­gue that what re­ally hap­pens is that, white­washed or not, the fire­box ab­sorbs heat and re-ra­di­ates it out into the room. There isn’t a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in per­for­mance be­tween white­washed plas­ter and soot-cov­ered brick.

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