A Rumford fireplace is a type of fireplace proposed by Count Rumford (Sir Benjamin Thompson), an eighteenth century English scientist and philosopher who wrote a book on fireplace design. Intended to increase heat transfer to a room and reduce heat loss up the flue, Rumford fireplaces incorporate a shallower firebox and a higher opening than normal, with the sides and back quite slanted. These fireplaces give the impression that they will spill smoke into the room. A properly constructed Rumford fireplace, however, works exactly as its inventor claimed. If you are designing a new home, talk to an experienced mason about the possibility of incorporating this design. Compare with a standard fireplace.