The history of chimney sweeps has been around since the 16th century and has been a needed line of work for homes all around the world. In the very beginning, the act of being a chimney sweeper was very dangerous. Present-day chimney sweeps are more experienced and have safety equipment to make sure that they stay safe.
In the 16th century, only the ruling class in England had chimneys so the lower-class chimney sweeps had the filthy job of keeping them clean at the request of the wealthy. While this was not the very beginning of the history of chimney sweeps, it is when they were the most needed in society. They often had plenty of work to fill the day and would just walk from roof to roof and clean the creosote and soot from the chimneys.
The history of chimney sweeps continued to evolve in the 17th century when a tax on hearths kept people from implementing more than one chimney in their homes. This is when they connected flues to other chimneys which helped them avoid the tax, but this created more complicated mazes for chimney sweeps to navigate.
The use of coal in homes made a chimney sweep job much more important because if they were not cleaned often, the toxic fumes would fill homes. Chimney sweeps began to be recognized as an image of good hearth and good health because they restored clean air to homes.
Being Known For Being Covered In Soot
After the implementation of coal, this is when more chimney sweeps were covered in soot, and this was often a key indication that they were chimney sweeps by trade. Many media portrayals, including Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, were shown with soot covering their faces, necks, and hands.
Today’s chimney sweeps are no longer covered from head to toe in soot, as fossil fuels have become more popular, and climbing through chimneys is no longer necessary. While this may seem like the end of the history of chimney sweeps, many modern companies still offer chimney sweep services for homes.
Children As Chimney Sweeps
Because of the small chimneys and maze aspect implemented in the 17th century, children, mainly young boys, were used to navigate the small spaces. They would work from dawn to dusk and be forced to climb through the mazes to earn their food and water for the day.
Because their bodies were still forming and the awkward positions they had to walk or climb in, many of these young sweeps experienced bone deformations, and some became trapped and died inside chimneys.
Soot inhalation was also a common problem and many speculate that this is why the children did not live past middle age. Teen chimney sweeps also experienced industrial cancer, which was extremely painful. Several written works helped to show the cruel treatment and work by William Blake helped to put an end to it. These poems, articles, and books were key elements in the history of chimney sweeps.
The Daily Life Of A Chimney Sweep
In the modern day, the life of a chimney sweep has changed from when it first began in the 13th century. Today, it takes even less time to clean a chimney properly with advances in technology and safety equipment.
A modern chimney sweep may work multiple other home care jobs, including our team with Sierra Vista Maintenance. They are educated in the workings and health of chimneys and fireplaces and even know how to effectively clean not only the chimney, but venting systems, flues, and wood stoves.
With Sierra Vista Maintenance, our process starts with putting down protective tarps to keep your home clean and free of toxic build-up. We make sure to thoroughly clean all chimney parts with a special brush and vacuum up any debris. We also check parts of your chimney like the flue, liner, flashing, and damper to make sure they are cleaned and don’t currently need repairs.
Hiring a professional chimney sweep company will help your home stay healthy and smell clean. Keeping your home properly heated starts with a clean chimney.
Chimney Cleaning With Sierra Vista Maintenance
Sierra Vista Maintenance is proud to be part of the history of chimney sweeps and bring services to homes in Sacramento. Our team wants to help improve multiple areas of your home with exterior cleaning. Our staff works efficiently to make our services worth your time and money. We also provide before and after pictures of every cleaning, to show you just how we have improved your space.
As spring fast approaches, scheduling a service with us will set your home up for success through spring storms and look great into the summer months. Contact us to get an estimate for your chimney or other home cleaning needs.