Little Known Facts About Chimney Sweeps
You may be surprised to know that the profession of the chimney sweep is many centuries old. Over the years the profession has seen many changes and most people have no idea what is involved in cleaning a chimney properly. The history of the chimney sweep is a mixture of good and bad so here are some interesting facts for you:
Children as Chimney Sweeps!
Yes this is one of the bad parts of the history of chimney sweeps! They used children to climb into chimneys and clean them a long time ago. The children worked so hard and only had one day off per year.
That day was May Day. Chimney sweeps celebrated “Jack in the Green” which was all about the arrival of spring. In England today there is still an annual festival to celebrate chimney sweeps and this features a leafy 7 foot tall figure to lead the parade.
The tall figure is a representation of Jack rising at the crack of dawn which is the time that the old chimney sweeps got up for work each day except for their one day off. The band Jethro Tull created a song inspired by “Jack in the Green”.
Girls as Chimney Sweeps!
Although most of the child chimney sweeps were boys in the bad old days there were some girls working in chimneys too. Boy and girl chimney sweeps were usually between 6 to 12 years old and they worked for a master chimney sweep.
These kids had to climb into the chimneys and as they climbed they would clean the flues. If master considered a child was climbing too slowly then they would often light a fire to make them climb faster! Now you know where the term “light a fire under someone” cane from.
Conditions were terrible for these poor children. They were usually hungry and had to beg for food. Normally they couldn’t bathe and it was not uncommon for them to have to sleep on sacks that they used for chimney soot collection.
Cleaning Chimneys with Geese!
Before the invention of chimney sweep tools there were other solutions used which did not include young children climbing chimneys. One of these solutions was to use geese in the chimney but this wasn’t the best method.
The chimney sweep secured a rope around the neck of the goose. Then they would force the goose to fly up the chimney and the flapping wings would clean. To brush away the soot the sweep pulled the goose back down again.
“Spazzacamini” is another name for Chimney Sweeps
For many centuries the Italians in Maria Maggoire have celebrated the chimney sweep. The Italian word for a chimney sweep is “spazzacamini” and celebrations now center around the advances made in the industry that freed young children from having to climb chimneys.
Children Freed with Invention of new Equipment
In 1864 in England the government passed the “Act of the Regulation of Chimney Sweepers” which made it illegal for young children to be used to climb chimneys. Chimney sweeps needed another way to clean chimneys properly as the “goose” method did not produce reliable results.
Joseph Glass invented the canes and brushes that a sweep used from the fireplace to effectively clean a chimney in the 18th century. These tools could reach the very top of a chimney and today chimney sweeps use modern versions of these same tools.
If you are looking for a chimney sweep Manteca, California then look no further than the McDonald Chimney Service. We have been cleaning chimneys in California for thirty years and have the knowledge and experience to help you. Contact us here.