This book gives a careful and comprehensive explanation of how open fires work. The emphasis is on the technical aspects of their operation. The information to design, construct and operate open fires plus their chimneys is included. The principles of draft and air flow are described. The details of design optimisation to maximise attractiveness and thermal efficiency of fireplaces and throats are explained. The history of fireplace design is traced from Roman times through the heyday of open fires in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to their subsequent replacement by other heating systems and recent revival of fires and stoves as items of beauty. Also included are chapters on the principles of combustion of solid fuel, choice of fuel, principles of heat, materials used in fireplace construction, choices of grate and gas fires. It is essential reading for anyone involved in fireplace design or maintenance be they architects, builders or DIY enthusiasts.