The Making & Keeping Of Fire

There is an old misconception that the fire in a colonial home must be kept forever burning. It was believed that the fire was so difficult to start, if the fire did by chance extinguish, it was by far an easier task to walk three miles in a blinding snowstorm (uphill both ways, no doubt) to borrow fire from a neighbor, than to start a fire with flint and steel!

This, of course, is an absurd scenario. Those who have ever tried creating a fire with a flint and steel, know that with a little practice and the proper dry materials, it is as easy to start an 18th century fire as it is to light a 21st century Barbeque!

We believe more cooking was done on a brazier in centuries past than is being demonstrated now. It certainly offers many benefits! Cooking may be done on a tablet op or other elevated surface, eliminating the discomfort of bending over a hearth. It is also safer to cook over a brazier, because you are not working over an open flame. With a brazier, cooking can be done in inclement weather when camping as the brazier may be used under a fly. Or, in hot weather, cooking may be done outside under the shade rather than in a hot kitchen! When fuel is scarce, just a few twigs will keep your brazier cooking! (We believe for this reason they must have been very popular in cities where fuel was difficult to obtain.) It may be what keeps you from a cold meal at sites where it is not possible to dig a fire pit! We can tell you, there is no faster way to get a cup of coffee in the morning!



chaif fv

Historically inspired. This chafing dish will also serve as a small brazier. We created this piece at the request of our customers who needed a small, portable brazier for cooking and keeping foods warm at the table. It is ideal for sites that prohibit open fires, or when you don’t want to carry a lot of gear. The handle is removable and the whole piece weighs only 1 lb.! Unlined brass. Hand turned wood handle.


Dated: 18th century style
Origin: various
Materials: brass, various woods as available
Dimensions: 4 1/2″dia. X 2″deep. Total height 3 1/2″. Length is 11 3/4″. Handle 8″. Weight 1 lb.
X-0045-B CHAFING DISH(commissioned work) $115.00



Historic reproduction. This is a very fine reproduction of a cast iron brazier in our own collection! It has been dated mid 17th to mid 18th century. It is a charming piece, with three gracefully tapering legs and two handles shaped like hearts! Handmade cast iron. Includes a removable cast iron grate to hold the coals and a copper ash pan to collect fallen ashes. (PLEASE USE CAUTION! Use braziers only in well ventilated areas. Do not use braziers to heat a tent or any enclosed area.)




Dated: mid 17th to mid 18th century
Origin: English/American
Materials: cast iron, copper
Dimensions: 7″tall x 10″wide incl. handles. 8 lb.





Historically inspired. Most braziers lived out their lives on the hearth. Modern re-enactors have brought them into the great outdoors! The problem arises in transporting these sooty things! Thus was born the brazier box. Not documented, but made in an 18th century style. These are large enough to hold your brazier and a few tools. It is handmade of sturdy pine, with a leather strap closure and heavy cotton carry strap.




Dated: 18th century style
Origin: various
Materials: pine, leather, cotton
Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 13″




Historic reproduction. Available in two sizes, these barrel bellows are one piece, with a nice handle for ease of use. A very common item for centuries, these were used by the English, French, Dutch, German and Spanish to name a few. Ideal for use with braziers or any time you’d like to deliver a little oxygen to the fire without losing your eyebrows!


Dated: 18th century
Origin: from an English example
Materials: brass
Dimensions: large: large 18″, small: 12″
X-0167-B BARREL BELLOWS, large (commissioned work) $25.00
X-0168-B BARREL BELLOWS, small (commissioned work) $22.00





ember tongs

Historically inspired. These are so useful in any 18th century “environment”! Historically used to pick up hot embers to light a pipe or put hot coals in a foot warmer, etc. Also keeps your fingers clean when putting charcoal in a brazier! This particular piece is not documented, but they were available in great variety in the colonial period. We are sure you will find these very handy! Curved ends to hold embers securely.


Dated: 18th century style
Origin: various
Materials: brass
Dimensions: about 8″long
X-0165-B EMBER TONGS (commissioned work) $18.00




tinder box

Historic reproduction. This wonderful little box is reproduced from a rustic original. Made of various woods, this box is beautifully antiqued and looks all of 300 years old! It was used to start a fire. The door slides open to reveal two compartments. The larger is used to store fire starting materials. The smaller compartment was used to start the fire in. A candle or spall was lit from this fire. The fire was then extinguished with the wooden inside cover (included), and the lit candle or spall was then carried to the hearth where it was used to start a fire. Every colonial hearth would have had such a box near it. Few examples are left due to the nature of their use (most ended up in the fire they started!) This is a really lovely piece All handmade.


Dated: 1690-1720
Origin: English/American
Materials: various woods as available.
Dimensions: 11 “x5″x3″deep
T-016l TINDER BOX $129.00