Rumford Fireplaces

Designed 200 years ago by Count Rumford, Rumford fireplaces burn cleanly and efficiently while giving off far more heat than conventional fireplaces. McNear offers safety-engineered firebrick and other modular masonry components so you can bring the warmth and elegance of a Rumford fireplace to your home.

Rumford vs Conventional Fireplaces

Rumford fireplace diagram

Radiant Heat

Count Rumford was the first to realize that a fireplace heats a room solely through radiation of visible and invisible light. Armed with this insight, he set about designing a fireplace to maximize its effectiveness as a radiant heater. His research produced a tall, shallow firebox with widely flared sides that gives off huge amounts of heat over a very wide arc.

Rumford Throat

While his radical new firebox design succeeded in giving off far more heat, it also initially gave off liberal amounts of smoke into the room. Ever the scientist, Count Rumford switched from thermodynamics to aerodynamics and developed the smooth streamlined throat that became a unique feature of his fireplace. This Rumford Throat captures all the products of combustion and guides them smoothly and without turbulence into the chimney. Because of its streamlined efficiency, it also greatly reduces the amount of warm air lost up the chimney.


The tall firebox and streamlined throat have an additional beneficial effect which Count Rumford could never have imagined: by keeping the smoke at a higher temperature for a longer time, more particulate is burned, making Rumfords one of the few clean-burning masonry fireplaces. Rumfords have been laboratory tested and meet wood-burning appliance emission regulations.

Modular Components

Our Rumford fireplace system consists of a set of modular components that faithfully incorporate Count Rumford's principles while greatly simplifying the design and construction of perfect fireplaces. Fireboxes, throat sections, smoke chambers, dampers, and flues are all pre-engineered to ensure perfect operation in fireplaces varying in size from two feet to more than ten feet wide.

Traditional Beauty

The Rumford fireplace's large open firebox radiates traditional beauty and charm. While its geometry is fixed, the color, size, and pattern of the firebrick used are at the designer's discretion. McNear Brick & Block offers five colors of architectural firebrick: Red, Maple Red, White, Alabaster and Sandstone. These colors are also available as prefabricated herringbone fireboxes.


  • Radiant Heat
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Clean Burning
  • Modular Components
  • Traditional Beauty
  • Real Masonry


rumford fireplace diagram

Fireplace Width A B C D E F G
2' 24” 12” 13.5” 5,25” 24”-28” 12” 19”
2'-6" 30” 12” 13.5” 8.25” 28”-32” 12” 18”
3' 36” 14” 13.5” 11.25” 32”-38” 14” 18”
3'-6" 42” 15” 15” 13.5” 38”-42” 15” 18”
4' 48” 16” 18” 15” 42”-48” 16” 19”
4'-6" 54” 18” 18” 18” 50” 13.5” 32”
5' 60” 20” 22.5” 18.75” 48”-54” 13.5” 32”
6' 72” 24” 24” 24” 54”-60” 13.5” 32”
7' 84” 28” 28” 28” 60” 13.5” 42”
8' 96” 32” 32” 32” 60” 13.5” 42”
11' 120” 40” 40” 40” 72” 13.5” 42”


California Prop. 65 Warning: Combustion of wood, firelogs, and other materials results in the emission of carbon monoxide, soot, and other combustion by-products which are known by the State of California tocause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm.