Martin Christopher Parker/Shutterstock
Almost everyone loves a warm, cozy, crackling fire in the fireplace. While the hearth and mantelpiece are the components we see, the chimney top, which is vital to a successful fire, often goes unnoticed.
Although the top of the chimney isn’t often on your mind as you sit in front of a fire, you may have noticed round or octagonal clay “pots” on top of very tall chimneys. Perhaps you recall Mary Poppins gliding among London’s chimneys with her umbrella. Those toppers are called chimney pots.
Chimney pots became a popular fixture in the 18th and 19th centuries when people began burning coal to heat their homes. The terra-cotta pot was added to the top of the chimney as an inexpensive way to extend the chimney stack height, thus increasing the “draw” of air. This resulted in a reduced amount of soot and fumes entering the home.
Chimney pots were also a means of architectural expression, subsequently coming in a variety of designs. Tudor chimneys, for example, are typically very long in length, lending themselves to more modern designs. Some of them were intricately decorated to intimate wealth or social status. Others provided historical context, like the Moorish influences in southern Portugal. And some have served as iconic artwork pieces, including those designed by the Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudi.
Chimney pots can still be bought and installed to add style and increase flue performance on a chimney. They are made from clay, copper and steel and come in square, round or octagonal shapes. And, you can choose from a mortar mount, chimney mount, crown mount or inside flue mount.
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.