Except in two places, the article says Bilston Knights was a brand name
for a coal grate. The first time, it's undocumented hearsay that the
knights were called Bilston Knights. The second time, an expert said
lots of companies produced knights for hearths. He called a particular
one a Bilston knight because it was produced at a Bilston Ltd. factory
that ran from the 1940s to 1958. That knight is not pictured.
The article says the three knights purchased in the 1960s were sold new
as knickknacks without tools. Ebay shows a knight identical to the
mystery item, with the tools. UK residents would understand the purpose
of the tools. Americans might not.
In New England, fireplaces were for wood. In North Carolina, my
19th-century house has four rooms with coal fireplaces. Several other
houses around here, including one built in the 1940s, are like that. An
open coal fire would heat a room in this climate. I suppose New
Englanders relied on stoves or central heat. Tools that would fit in the
knight would be too small for a wood fire but would probably be just
right for a coal grate.
I agree that the shorter tools would be better for a coal fire than wood, though
as mbuck mentioned, the ad does say the grate is for "all types of fuel".
Besides wood, peat, and coal, I don't know what other fuel they would burn. I
would guess that coal would be the main fuel for the Bilston Knight grate, but
the word coal is not found once in the entire article. I suppose the bottom line
is that the tools are better suited for a small fire of any type as opposed to a
large wood fire.
Coal isn't mentioned in the article because it's British. The British
take it for granted that you must drive on the wrong side of the road
and burn coal in a fireplace.
I don't see how one could build an all-night wood fire on something as
small as the Bilston Knight grate. It takes a big load of wood to
produce coals for a long fire. The fireplaces needs a big throat for
the draft necessary to burn off the volatiles. The big throat sucks so
much air that in Massachusetts and Vermont, using the fireplace made
houses colder. I guess that's why the houses down here were built with
coal fireplaces even though plenty of firewood was available.
(I changed my name to The Other J Burns because in another group I was
confused with another J Burns.)
Yes, the helmet does hinge, the link on my site goes to an ebay page for a
device, apparently a fireplace poker can be placed under the helmet for easy
access. The knight in my photos didn't have any tools with it, so I wasn't sure
purpose of the pivoting helmet until I found the ebay link.
2943: Toilet-paper dispenser for Buckingham Palace. At one time, the
palace had real knights for toilet attendants. Each of the 78 toilets
required 4 knights each working 42 hours a week, for a total of 312.
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