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a furnace for smelting, resmelting, and heating metals and firing ceramic products; the lower part of a shaft furnace in which fuel is combusted.
Hearths have been known since approximately the third millennium B.C. The so-called direct-process hearths found on the territory of the USSR date from the first millennium B.C. Forge hearths served to heat metals before forging and hardening. Pottery hearths or kilns were used to fire pottery. Bloomeries for the conversion of pig iron into iron have been known since the 15th century.
In modern terms, the hearth is an industrial furnace wider than it is high (when the height is greater than the width, the furnace is called a shaft furnace). The hearth consists of a steel chamber lined inside with brick and open at the top. The side walls of the hearth have openings or tuyeres to deliver air. Gaseous products of combustion are disposed of through the open top of the hearth or through an exhaust pipe. A hearth can operate on charcoal, coke, oil, or gas. Ordinarily, the efficiency of hearths does not exceed 5 percent, with the result that they have not found widespread industrial use. Crucible hearths are used in metallurgy for crucible melting of metals, and specially designed hearths are used to obtain lead from ore concentrates.
(1) An open flat space for kindling and maintaining a fire, usually inside a dwelling. According to archaeological evidence, hearths have been known since the Lower Paleolithic. In the Upper Paleolithic, hearths were often constructed of stones and sometimes coated with clay.
In round dwellings the hearth is usually located in the center of the dwelling, as in the chums of the Nentsy, Evenki, and other peoples of the North; in rectangular dwellings it is near a wall, usually opposite the entrance, as in the houses of some peoples of Dagestan. A transitional type of construction is the hearth placed directly against the wall with a clay-coated wicker pipe for the smoke (among some peoples of the Balkan Peninsula, Siberia, the Caucasus, and Middle Asia). In time the hearth against the wall developed into the fireplace.
The hearth played an important role in various rituals. Among many peoples—including the ancient Greeks, Romans, Slavs, Teutons, and, until recent times, the peoples of the Caucasus and Siberia—it was considered a sacred place in the dwelling.
(2) In a figurative sense, hearth means home, shelter, or the family (the home hearth).
(3) A source from which something, such as a cultural influence, emanates.
(or bottom), the part of a furnace on which the materials or items undergoing heat treatment (heating, melting, or annealing) are placed.
Hearths of melting furnaces are usually made of refractory materials. Electric-arc furnaces may be constructed with current-conducting hearths, in which case the hearth is one of the electrodes. Hearths of heating furnaces usually also have a refractory lining. A distinction is made between stationary, bogie, moveable, revolving, and roller-hearth furnaces. In multideck, or multihearth, drying and annealing furnaces, the hearths are placed at various levels along the vertical axis of the furnace, and the material being processed pours down from one hearth to another.
What does it mean when you dream about a hearth?
The hearth signifies a place to return to home values and nurturing feelings. It is traditionally the center of sacred beginnings and also of sacred rituals. It also represents a chance to begin again.