Count Rumford's elegant fireplace design became the state of the art within months of its invention in the late 1700s. Unfortunately, although thousands of Rumford fireplaces were built, few people understood the principles behind Rumford's design. When wood heat went out of vogue around 1850, Rumford's ideas were diluted by the furious competition to design and patent popular coal-burning fireplaces. And shortly after gas fireplaces replaced coal in the 1890s, wood fireplaces virtually disappeared from American homes. Wood-burning fireplaces became popular again in the 1920s — almost 70 years after the last Rumfords were built, and by 1950 the modern fireplace had been reinvented as a result of the standardization that came with the