hearth

In by Mark Goodman

The inner and outer floor of a fireplace, usually made of brick, tile or stone.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
hearth (noun)
1.
a) a brick, stone, or concrete area in front of a fireplace
b) the floor of a fireplace , also - fireplace
c) the lowest section of a furnace , especially the section of a furnace on which the ore or metal is exposed to the flame or heat
2.
- home
3.
a vital or creative center - the central hearth of occidental civilization A. L. Kroeber
hearth (Wikipedia)

Hearth with cooking utensils

In historic and modern usage, a hearth /hɑːrθ/ is a brick- or stone-lined fireplace, with or without an oven, used for heating and originally also used for cooking food. For centuries, the hearth was such an integral part of a home, usually its central and most important feature, that the concept has been generalized to refer to a homeplace or household, as in the terms "hearth and home" and "keep the home fires burning".

In a medieval hall, the hearth commonly stood in the middle of the hall, with the smoke rising through the room to a smoke hole in the roof. Later, such hearths were moved to the side of the room and provided with a chimney. In fireplace design, the hearth is the part of the fireplace where the fire burns, usually consisting of masonry at floor level or higher, underneath the fireplace mantel.

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