What in the World Are Fireboxes?

The Monessen Hearth Exacta Vent Free Firebox

Fireboxes are like a lot of things. You know what they are, you just didn’t know that’s what they were. Okay, that was a bad sentence, and we apologize for being so offensive to grammarians and other word nerds. It’s just that it’s true to say that many people know what a firebox is when they hear the name, but they didn’t know what the name was originally. It is one of the great mysteries of our time. Fireboxes are essential and commonplace, yet they remain largely anonymous. 

That’s right, we’ve failed to educate the general public or celebrate such a key component of the most important thing in any home - the fireplace. This particular component hasn’t been given the fanfare enjoyed by the mantel or chimney. There are no Christmas songs about chestnuts roasting by an open firebox. So let’s take a moment to highlight this humble giant. 



  • The open area where the fire burns 

  • Usually made out of firebricks, since bricks are relatively inexpensive and create an aesthetic many homeowners desire

  • Also available with a metal or prefabricated lining

  • Often square or rectangular at the base

  • Varied in angle on the sides and back to create a pyramid shape

  • Open at the top to allow the exhaust to enter the flue

  • Where an insert or stove would go, which contain their own interior fireboxes 



  • Allows for larger or hotter fires because the firebricks can handle so much heat

  • Keeps the ash and embers safely away from the room, especially when doors and screens are used 

  • Greatly reduces smoke and fumes from being respired or damaging the home, due to its recessed position

  • Slows the heat from leaving up the flue, which allows the heat to radiate into the room more efficiently

This diagram may help to visualize the anatomy of the fireplace (from Popular Mechanics).

If you didn’t know what fireboxes were, but you’re still reading this, that means you might be interested in learning more about fireplaces. At The Fireplace and More Store, we love answering questions and educating potential fireplace owners on exactly what makes each model and type better for their particular needs. Customer care is our passion, and combined with our expertise and selection, we are confident we can match you with the perfect fireplace and take great care of you. Contact us no matter where you are in the process and we’re happy to help! 

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2009 Stephens Blvd.
Joplin, MO 64804

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