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A fireplace fender is generally a short screen placed in front of fireplaces to keep ashes and flying sparks from escaping the fireplace box which could cause damage outside the hearth stone area. They are typically decorative and can add elegance to the overall look of the fireplace. Finishing your fireplace with antique fenders and andirons can transport your home to an earlier time in America as well as complete the focal point of your rooms.
The 18th-century American fender was made of cast brass or bell metal (brass with a high copper content giving it a rose color and great ringing ability). The fender used sandwiched layers of these metals in its construction with iron ribbing or bottoms attached to it for strength. Serpentine or D-end shapes were the forms used in the design of theses fenders, and they usually had elaborate cutouts or piercings of shields, eagles or vines that were highlighted by hand engravings.
After 1800, American wire and brass fenders were popular because of their beauty and practicality. The fenders were constructed of hand wrought iron frames with sheet bars wrapped over domed wrought iron top rails. These iron frames was laced with blacksmiths made wire to form a rigid fireplace screen. These screens incorporated attractive scroll and swag design within their wire work. Most wire and brass fenders used D-end designs with straight fronts, while a few had serpentine curve front designs. The rarer wire and brass serpentine or D-end fenders had finials made of brass. These finials were constructed similarly to andirons and were fastened to the top fender rail by peening over the top of the wrought iron upright style protruding through the final body. Tall wire and brass fenders (called crib fenders) used the above design features and were constructed to protect children, pets and property from the dangers of the fire.
As time passed, American craftsmen used more sophisticated construction methods. These fenders made of sheet brass could be intricately worked to form fancy designs. Hand wrought iron ribbing or bottoms were used to add to the strength of the fender. Cast brass feet of various designs were attached to the fenders bottom edge with rivets or hand cut screws. This formal style brass fender was popular during the classical period of design in America. The last fender form is the brass and leather club fender or bumper. They were made in England from 1830 to 1920. Club fenders are constructed using various forms of brass which covered a steel under frame for strength of the Fender. The top of the fender has a padded seat board covered with leather. The seat board is attached to and supported by pieces of architectural brass, which are also attached to the iron under frame of the brass fender base. These seat boards may have a center "cut through" for easy fire working or one continuous seat when more additional seating is desired. These club fenders make a splendid focal point, as well as great additional seating for any room.
Why not have a look at some of the many styles and types we have available as shown below, and feel free to contact us to ask about something particular you may not see represented here.