I recently received an email from a man named Ben who had inherited one of my firebacks and asked how the rust could be removed, and the casting cleaned. The photo attached in the email was of a 1980 Great Oak, the first year this design was available. In good condition and retaining most of its original finish, I recommended it would be as good as new after going over it with a wire brush, and applying a fresh coat of stove polish.
Curious as to its provenance, I asked Ben for a little history on this casting. After talking with his father, he told me this had been a house warming gift from the founder of Pennsylvania Firebacks, and old high school friend, chimney sweep Terry Polis. Ben thought that it may be from the first batch of firebacks we produced in 1979.
This fireback is a testimonial to their heirloom qualities, durability, and connection to a family’s sense of Hearth and Home. Ben told me that this fireback was “well traveled,” having been with his parents in five houses, and now in his, its sixth home.
Design and sculpting of this firebacks began in early 1979, while also creating the company logo, advertisements and promotional literature. That August, the first batch of Pennsylvania Firebacks, consisting of twenty Franklin Suns, and twenty of what was then called, The Green Tree fireback, were cast in Pennsylvania. I can identify that Ben’s is from the first batch due to its logo below the date. The second batch had a more open and legible logo under the date.