Decorative Fireplace Fitting

While I was working on polishing the antique brass andirons; Greg remembered we had this brass fitting that needed to be cleaned up. With a bit of scrubbing a beautiful decorative fitting appeared.

The fitting sits to the right of our fireplace, we’ve assumed it went to a former gas line? But how did it work? Did an additional line come out of the fitting to light the fireplace?

Any ideas? We would love to hear your comments!


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21 Comments

  1. definutly for gas lighting. i work for the gas co in boston and see those all over the old houses usually 3/8″

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  2. I found something just today that looks almost like the one you posted Katy. Mine has a round turn off knob with a point at the top with a flower pattern on it and a flower pattern on both sides of the body. If you find out what they are could you let me know ive been looking but havent found anything yet.

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  3. This is a valve for a gas lamp. We have them in our house but they are higher up and attached to a tube like the earlier comment mentioned. If you email me I will send you a photo of where ours is.

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  4. It does look awfully like an old style fitting for a gas poker but it could also have been used for an insert gas fire (Radiation gas fire grate for example) which would date it to the 1920’s or so, perhaps using an old light fitting.

    Gas pokers were popular in the UK until about 1960 (it’s a long story as to why)

    Once you get your fireplaces working you’ll start to see why people started to use gas pokers and fires – a real fire might be romantic but when it’s your only source of heat and it’s freezing…

    Love the work you’re doing on the house – I’m working on a much newer house (100 years old) and it’s amazing what you find hidden.

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  5. that is definitely a gas lamp valve…why its where it is I am not sure. It actually goes with the “nozzle” end into the gas line…and the bigger socket held the fitting for the sconce…possibly in later years someone just stuck it there when they rigged up an insert, a valve is a valve so it probably worked fine for a rigged insert, as well as stayed in character of the original period…wonder why they would put it so high on the wall though, it would make more sense to be lower, but DIY’ers do their own thing!

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  6. Could it have been for a stove for heating the room, not cooking? The gas fireplaces that I am familiar with have the gas inside the stove.

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  7. Nope, probably never a kitchen. I’m pretty sure it was downstairs. This room is on the second floor. But I guess, maybe?

    We did find a gas line that went across the ceiling to the center for a light, we removed the pipe for some reason when we renovated the ceiling. So I assume it wasn’t for a light.

    The gas fireplace insert makes a sense. I’ll ask around town and see if anyone else has one!

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  8. I’m not entirely sure, but my thoughts on this are that it’s used much the same as in a laboratory for a Bunsen burner. I have seen similar setups for gas (table) lamps, where the lamp is connected to the gas by a line (tube), and this would be the shut-off. Usually there would be a valve on the lamp also, to control the quantity of gas/brightness of the lamp.

    This seems like a really odd location for such a fitting, so I’d suspect that one of the posters above would be correct in thinking that there was a gas fireplace “insert” added at a later date.

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  9. I have a similar piece!! It came out of a Victorian house, but I’ve wondered what it was used for. Mine has two turn pieces with a short pipe between them. I’m enjoying reading the comments.

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  10. Was that room ever used as a kitchen? I would go with the stove hook up that was exhausted up the chimney. I saw several similar fittings in Belfast and Searsport, Maine when I was house hunting years ago.

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  11. Curious. It looks just like the part of a gas light sconce that turns on the light. It’s attached to a pipe there in the wall? I guess the line could have gone to a stove.

    Usually the key part that turns faces the floor, not the ceiling. Often the old gas pipes are still active — I guess this one is not, since it would be leaking gas all over the place if it were. Is it possible this fitting went to a sconce, and someone just happened to put it on this old stove pipe?

    We happen to have such a pipe (for a sconce) sticking out of a wall also. When the old broken sconce that was there originally disappeared after a plumber disconnected the pipe, I bought another sconce piece of eBay and stuck it on there, though it is not original to the house.

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  12. How interesting and beautiful. It looks like some kind of rubber tube would have attached to it.

    Were you able to find any kind of pipe that went to it?

    I love the mysteries of old houses.

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