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A cast iron fireback takes heat otherwise lost and radiates this heat into the room.
A fireplace fireback thus works like a radiator and may increase the efficiency of the fire by as much as 50%.
The oldest fireplace fireback dates back to 1460 and was used by French royalty.
Originally, fireplace firebacks were luxury items to be used exclusively by the royalty and aristocracy.
Thus the early fireplace firebacks show the crowns and coats of arms of royalty and aristocracy.
Later the fireback received more decorative designs depicting classical stories, nature, and rural lives.
The fireplace fireback has always had two important functions: 1.
It protects the backside of the fireplace against cracking and chipping.2.