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History of Chimney Services

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History of Chimney Services

A chimney sweep is a person who cleans chimneys for a living. They are also referred to as chimney service technicians. The occupation of chimney sweep is considered to be one of the oldest in the world, as chimneys have been around since ancient times. Though only in the last two hundred years has the chimney grown large enough to hold a man, giving rise to the image of the chimney sweep as it developed in the time of the Industrial Revolution. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Western Europe, construction of rooflines with crow-stepped gables became common to allow chimney sweeps convenient access to the chimney top. With the increased urban population, the number of houses with chimneys grew in pace and the profession of chimney sweep became much respected and sought-after, though sometimes derided in verse, ballad and pantomime.

In Victorian Age Britain, the business became notorious for employing young boys as they were small enough to enter the chimneys and clean them from inside. The work was dirty and dangerous.

Eventually, the public outcry against the practice led to a search for a substitute and the invention of a special brush with a collapsible handle and other more subtle innovations. This allowed a sweep to reach right up the chimney without the need to enter it. In the mid twentieth century, the invention of a vacuum suction device that could be attached over the fireplace made the process cleaner than ever.

Romans used tubes inside the walls to draw smoke out of bakeries but real chimneys appeared only in northern Europe in the 12th century. Industrial chimneys became common in the late 18th century.

Chimneys have traditionally been built of brick, both in small and large buildings. Early chimneys were of a simple brick construction. Later chimneys were constructed by placing the bricks around tile liners. To control downdrafts venting caps (often called chimney pots) with a variety of designs are sometimes placed on the tops of chimneys.