OT: Passive fireplace heat circulator

Is anyone aware of a supplier for the old-time heat circulator that lay in fireplaces? Searches for such things only find electric-powered types which is not what I want. (I have one of those, but want a passive circulator, one that works in event of power failure.)
This is a heat circulator sold that utilized a pipe-type construction. It had three or five pieces that went from the front of the fireplace parallel to the floor, up the back and out to the front. The top pieces are at a slope to encourage air to flow more quickly out. These were fastened together with cross pieces at the bottom (underneath) to hold it off the floor of the fireplace and one at the top to stabilize the tops of the pieces. The ends protruded several inches in front of the fireplace front. The principle was to pull in cool air off the floor which heated as it traveled through and dispersed as heated air into the room. Heat control was controlled by covering as many air intakes at the bottom as necessary. After I saw one in a fireplace in a house I visited while house hunting, I told my then-boss about it. He had one in his cabin which he said they often had to close off all but one of the air intakes as it was quite effective, that it was even too hot to sit within six feet of the front of the fireplace.
One of our local welders, who knew exactly what it is, suggested a muffler shop he knew in an outlying community. He said the owner would know what it was (and might be willing to build one), and it would have to be manifold-type pipe to withstand the temperatures. Unfortunately, the shop had just burned and still hasnt started up again.
Yes, I did try to purchase the one in that house; however, the owner who had only bought the house to re-sell, wasnt selling it, said itd help him sell the house. Yeah, right, most people convert their fireplaces to gas. Oh, well. If one doesnt try to buy something like that, it wont happen so I lost nothing I already had.
Of those here who know what this passive heat circulator is, do you know of anyplace that sells them still? It would likely be some out-of-the-way shop that few know about. I suspect they became a non-manufacture item because of potential mis-use and possible carbon monoxide issues though havent found anything to substantiate that thought.
Any help is much appreciated.
Glenna
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Glenna Rose wrote:

[snip]
Last place I saw them was at an "Ace" hardware, maybe you could track them down via an Ace site? Something they could order for you?
Josie
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snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com writes:

Thank you, Wilson. Though I understand what you are saying, that is not what I want. Both are readily available many places. It's the passive heat exchanger that is the subject of my quest. For my garage, if I ever put anything there, it will like be a stove. Unlike a stove or insert, there is no alteration involved or building codes to meet with this type of exchanger. Additionally, my fireplace is one of those that was, uncommonly, made properly and emits a great deal of heat on its own, so I would not want to "alter" it with an insert. Aside from that, frankly, I think they are not very attractive; I'm fortunate that this is not my primary heat source. The passive heat exchanger is easily removed and can be utilized with my current heat exchanger that sets on the floor of the fireplace. The blower on it is electrically powered. When I bought this house, I took it and the custom fireplace door to the welder for him to cut the door bottom panel so the exchanger could be fully operated with the doors closed. He did an excellent job; there is nothing "altered" looking about it. He was even able to position the openings for the base to allow full use of the draft controls; he is good!
Having an independent exchanger also allows me to use it in the BBQ pit or fireplace on the patio if I should so choose. That would allow me to have heat that could easily be directed to the garage which shares a wall (and door and window) with the patio. I have a wonderful covered patio which has panels across the open side for winter weather which takes the bite out of the cold as well as minimizing the wind effects.
One of our fellow woodworkers provided two web pages which have the exchanger type I want, one even providing basic instructions on how to make one. It's a shame I didn't ask sooner as my boss and his wife were in the area of the store just few weeks ago, could have possibly saved shipping costs. I will, however, now that I have a good photo and diagram, take this back to the welder and ask him to obtain a quote for me with measurements specific to my fireplace.
This group is such a great group. Everyone is so very helpful. Thank you for your time and thoughts. Your suggestions are good for different circumstances.
Glenna
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Try one of these links I did DAGS for fireplace heat exchnager and got a lot of hits. The second link is probably the one you want to look at first, they have an optional fan you can attach to get more heat.
http://home.alltel.net/nelpi/nelpagef.htm
http://www.hdpatios.com/heatexchange.html

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Not much help but this may help someone else to visualize what you're describing and remember who sells them....
http://www.motherearthnews.com/menarch/archive/issues/048/048-055-02.htm
Bob S.
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Glenna Rose wrote:

Actually, I wouldn't mind having something like that for my gas fireplace, for the same reason. It's worthless without the blower, and the blower is worthless without the magic go juice that makes blue sparks when you let it out.
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Any stove or insert will work far better than the tubes! Many do not require the fan to run. Wilson

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