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Types of kindling used in fireplaces in the Georgian era

What might we find burning in the fireplace during those atmospheric evenings featured in historical romance novels? Well, much depends on wealth, location, and date.

As we move into the Regency, and especially as we spend time in the cities, nearly everyone is burning coal, not firewood. We'll see more firewood usage in the 18th century, but even that is almost exclusively within the wealthiest homes and reserved for the evenings when the host/hostess are entertaining. Firewood was expensive to purchase and time consuming to find/chop/transport/prepare, and for all that trouble, it wasn't all that useful, as it burned the shortest length of time and produced more light than heat. Remote areas of mostly open land, such as moors, wouldn't have ready access to woodland, either, making it impractical.

Coal was expensive, but it was the most popular choice across all classes and became the primary burner in the Regency. The city chimneys were designed for its soot and smoke. Burned in a stove set, one could not only heat a large area for a long period of time, one could also cook a meal, serving a dual purpose with a single fire. The drawback? No atmospheric crackling, woody scent, or bright flame to light the room.

Peat was used primarily by the poor, although to be fair, if one had ready access to a peat bog, why not make good use of it? It does it take preparation effort, but free is free! That said, it produced a lot of ash/soot, not much heat, little to no light, and wouldn't last through the night. Desperate times, eh? While experiences vary, some complained about the excess smoke (while others never had a problem), and some bragged about the wonderful aroma it produced (while others say it smelled like wet dog).

What did the poorest of the poor use? Dried cow dung. I'll just leave that one without comment.

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