An Andiron is the horizontal bar in which logs are laid on for burning in open fires. Usually used in pairs to build up a fire dog. In older eras (16th to 18th Century) andirons were also used as a rest for a roasting spit or were cup shaped to hold the porridge.
Andirons hold the the firewood up so that air can pass around, allowing the logs to burn properly and minimising the smoke. Typically supported on short legs and with an upright guard. This guard keeps the logs from rolling our of the fireplace. The guards may be made of iron, copper, steel bronze or even silver and can be elaborately decorated, some in the form of a dog which plays on the dual meaning of fire-dogs.
Fire dogs with no or little decoration were made of metal or ceramic and we also used in kitchens with ratcheted uprights for the spits. Very often these uprights branched out into arms or hobs for stewing or keeping food hot.
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