Fireplace cranes throughout history have been staple pieces in colonial homes, as well as homes in the UK throughout the 19th century. They were used as a daily tool making cooking more efficient and safe. One could now hang a cooking pot over the fire, utilizing the swinging arm to adjust the temperature inside the pot. Not only was this a better method for cooking, but it was also safer when it came time to remove the pot from the fire, as the crane could be swung out to the hearth. Across New England and the UK, you will still see fireplace cranes. Though now they are more for aesthetics, charm, and nostalgia for history buffs, many hobbyists use them for cooking. The “modern” wood burning, and coal stoves did lead to the removal of fireplace cranes in some homes. However, blacksmithing is still very much alive. Acquiring a reproduction crane is very possible and desirable when restoring antique homes, or just for adding charm to a fireplace.
Want to learn more? New England Museums like the Mystic Seaport and Sturbridge Village offer open hearth cooking and blacksmithing classes.
Photo Credit: Country Carpenters
Featured Image: Milen Kovachev