Meet the team
Our team of experts are here to help you to save money and the environment.
With a diverse range of experience and expertise, our team provide the skills necessary to design, engineer and produce our unique ceramic heater.
The picture on the right shows some of our team at the final of the Ignite business planning competition. A short biography of each of our team members can be found below.
We are actively seeking to fill other positions as we expand, so please get in touch if you are interested in joining us.
(from left: Mick Hobbs, Guy Nott-Bower, Ignite 2012 chairman John Stewart).
Masonry stoves originate from prehistoric times.
The taming of fire was one of mankind’s most important discoveries. Even today we are still learning how to control its frightening power. From cooking to global warming, it remains central to our lives and a force of nature we must all learn to use with respect.
The English word ‘Focus’ meaning ‘the centre of attention’ is the Latin word for ‘Fireplace’.
However the principles of Masonry stoves originate from much earlier times.
. Since fire was first harnessed, humans have struggled to conserve its glowing embers and life-giving heat. Covering a fire with stones which could later be slept on or moved indoors was happening well before any recorded ‘history’. Preventing the heat from flowing straight out of the home was and still is a key goal.
Underfloor heating or Hypocausts may have originated in the foothills of the Himalayas or the Far east where they were known as K’ang in China or Ondols in Korea.
Recent digs in the Aleutian Islands off Alaska have discovered underfloor heating dating from 4000 years ago.
The excavators found “a complex of features representing a remarkably sophisticated heating system . . . the hearth channels funnelled heat, perhaps even steam, upward from the hearth under the floor” (Knecht and Davis 2004:54).
Cut away view of a 400 year old Masonry type heater.
Masonry stoves evolved from basic nearly horizontal chimneys that could be slept on combined with various improvements in combustion and heat storage.
The Romans attribute heating with hypocaust to Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (born c. 80BC) a famous inventor who heated their famous baths and houses using very long chimneys under the floors. The picture above is of an ancient Roman Hyopcaust with the tile flooring removed. The combustion must have been fairly complete, otherwise where are all the soot/tar deposits? I wonder if they had the occasional underfloor chimney fires?
The understanding of how to build bridges as reliably as the Romans was lost in Britain and much of Europe during the ‘dark ages’ of religious persecution and witch hunts. That same era repressed scientific progress so that even the Roman underfloor heating technology was lost, until recently. We are in the process of developing a modern hypocaust, we have the ideal ceramic material and technical know how to build a safe and sustainable one.
This man is sat upon a Chinese Kang or heated platform.
From 1550 to 1850 ‘The little Ice Age’ of unusually intense cold and damp weather forced innovation with heating technologies. In 1763, Frederick The Great of Prussia, worried by the resulting massive deforestation held a competition for the most efficient woodstove. This was won by I.P.Baumer in 1764. Thereby instituting perhaps the first Green Technology. Experimentation with convoluted flues, clays, tiles, soapstone and thermal mass brought about the invention of the first masonry stove.
In the 1760’s The Swedish government sponsored improved stove designs and the grand era of Prussian tiled masonry stove innovation flourished.Over the next few hundred years Scandinavians and other cold countries produced a huge variety of ‘heat accumulating’ stoves, known variously as Swedish kakelug, German Kachelofen, and Russian Groop Ka, Finofens, Ceramic stoves and Masonry heaters.
An early Finnish design.
The first patent for a wood conserving stove, (or Masonry Stove) was in 1557.
Since 60% of our energy is still spent on heating in the UK, we believe that we should be applying those lessons again today, here and globally.
In 1800, Benjamin Thompson invents the first metal wood-fired stove.
Martin Luther’s tile stove
By 1850, much of Europe was heated with well-designed, reasonably high efficiency stoves and by 1927 the first air-circulating fireplace patent was passed.
During 1929, due to the Great US Depression, corn becomes a popular heating fuel and in 1974 there is a revival of wood burning following the oil crisis. Throughout time necessity has often been the mother of invention, people have found new fuels and new technologies to provide secure warmth. In our modern era this holds true. Concern with ‘Security of supply’ and the knowledge that forests provide the lungs of the planet are driving us towards modern super efficient Masonry heaters like the Homeheater.
Two enormous Russian stoves, plain and ornate demonstrate clearly the principle of thermal mass.
Technology as old as the hills bring us the safest, most environmentally friendly heating system in the world…
“One firing is enough for the day. The cost is next to nothing. The heat produced is the same all day, instead of too hot and too cold by turns.”
Mark Twain, 1891.
(after seeing a masonry stove in action)
The team here at Cornish Ceramic Masonry Stoves are keen to see the next chapter in this evolution of heating, a complete overhaul of the British chimney system, from one that discards heat to one that traps it in.
The Cornish masonry stove company are excited to be a part of this new renaissance of heating innovation and hope you will join us.
Our long term goal is to help save the planet’s precious resources, by finding ways to burn wood more efficiently and conserve the heat more effectively.
Innovation, The continual quest for further knowledge, Improvement of designs and Dedication to quality are our core goals.
Through these we have designed the first masonry-type eco stove to be manufactured in this country. Some of the genius of this technology was first invented to counter deforestation in Scandinavia some 250 years ago. Their winding chimney systems are a plentiful source of inspiration which we wish to share, to conserve resources.
One goal is to inform people that inefficient heating should be a wasteful thing belonging to the past. Heat shouldn’t be spewed out into the atmosphere. This quote was and remains a clear reminder to us of this age old problem:
“In old English country houses, you often find very wide and heavy chimneys through which you can look up to the stars in the sky. I have asked old people in both England and Scotland how it is possible to stand this?”
Sigurd Erixon, Sigurd Stockholm, Sigurd 1937
The full Quote can be found on our history page.
One of our first inspirations for the Homeheater was the excellent ‘Book of Masonry Stoves’ by David LyleWe. From this and other influences we have produced the first modular, state-of-the-art British Ceramic Masonry Stove..
It ticks all the boxes for the environmentalist: it is clean burning, highly efficient and able to burn more or less anything, tailored to burning renewable biofuels and waste wood. It’s a truly unique ‘Eco Stove’.
We believe in taking an ethical approach to our work, as well as to the environment. As a result, our company offers the workforce shares in the company with high regard to the health and safety of our workforce. We hand cast the ceramic with great care not to damage the environment around us.
We champion equal opportunities and financial transparency.
We encourage all members to have their say in the improvement of manufacture and quality controls. We are dedicated to conservation of traditional sustainable building and employ stonemasons to clad the cores, helping to preserve their traditional skills. Recently we have had feedback from an elderly local Stonemason who was thankful for the opportunity to work indoors during cold and wet weather. The News section has a related article about out participation in a workshop with Cornwall’s Sustainable Building Trust.
Our goal is to see our brand especially, and ‘Masonry’ type heating generally, become a popular option for home heating around this country and the rest of the world. We provide jobs for tile and ceramic designers and encourage innovative aesthetic designs, and our cooperation with Central London’s Saint Martins College of Artand Design is evidence of this.
Our products are built to be environmentally sound, and have the potential to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint considerably if they are adopted by local housing markets as they are in Finland. We have a great respect for tradition in this area of human knowledge.
A long history of research and testing, especially in Scandinavia and other areas around the Arctic circle has made our invention possible. The amount of testing done by previous generations into the flue configuration possibilities and constraints is immense. Couple this with the years of R&D that went into perfecting ceramic formulas, from the time of the Romans and beyond, and our own contemporary findings that were aided by experienced refractories laboratories in both the UK and France, shows that this project is a culmination of generations of know how. The history section has more on this.
Our great respect for science and its power to protect our beautiful planet is one of our core messages.