A chimney sweep is a worker who clears ash and soot from chimneys. The chimney uses the pressure difference caused by a hot column of gas to create a draught and draw air over the hot coals or wood enabling continued combustion. Chimneys may be straight or contain many changes of direction. During normal operation a layer of creosote builds up on the inside of the chimney restricting the flow. The creosote can also catch fire, setting the chimney and the building alight. The chimney must be swept to remove the soot. This was done by the master sweep.
In the United Kingdom, the master sweeps took apprentices, who were boys from the workhouse or bought them from their parents and trained them to climb chimneys. Boys as young as four climbed hot flues that could be as narrow as 9 inches square. Work was dangerous and they could get jammed in the flue, suffocate or burn to death. As the soot was a carcinogen, and as the boys slept under the soot sacks and were rarely washed, they were prone to Chimney Sweeps Cancer. From 1775 onwards there was increasing concern for the welfare of the boys, and Acts of Parliament were passed to restrict, and in 1875 to stop this usage. Lord Shaftesbury, the philanthropist, led the later campaign. In the United States, Black children were hired from their owners and used in the same way, and were still climbing after 1875.
In the German States, master sweeps belonged to trade guilds. and did not use climbing boys. In Italy, Belgium, and France climbing boys were used.
... "The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep" (Danish Hyrdinden og Skorstensfejeren) is a literary fairy tale by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875) ... The tale follows the romance between a china shepherdess and a china chimney sweep who are threatened by a carved mahogany satyr who wants the shepherdess for his wife ...
... Today, chimney sweeps are still operating, as venting systems for coal, heating oil, natural gas, wood and pellet burning appliances need to be ... The standard chimney brush is still used, along with more modern tools (such as vacuums, cameras and special chimney cleaning tools) ... Most sweeps are done from the bottom of the chimney, rather than the top, to prevent the dispersion of dust and debris ...
... helps the old man dress up as Snail, the local chimney sweep, with blackened face and filthy clothes ... to hear himself traduced and abused by other characters while in his chimney-sweep disguise ... and to claim that Franceshina had locked him, Snail the chimney-sweep, in the cellar for doing a bad job of sweeping the chimney ...
... Two china figurines (a shepherdess and a chimney sweep) stand side by side on a table top ... agrees to the union, the shepherdess and the chimney sweep flee, clambering down a table leg to the floor ... The chimney sweep tries to dissuade her, but, as he loves her greatly, he finally accedes to her wishes and guides her back to the table top ...
Famous quotes containing the words sweep and/or chimney:
“And my spirit is grown to a lordly great compass within,
That the length and the breadth and the sweep of the marshes of
Will work me no fear like the fear they have wrought me of yore
When length was failure, and when breadth was but bitterness sore,
And when terror and shrinking and dreary unnamable pain
Drew over me out of the merciless miles of the plain,
Oh, now, unafraid, I am fain to face
The vast sweet visage of space.”
—Sidney Lanier (18421881)
“When a daughter tries suicide
and the chimney falls down like a drunk
and the dog chews her tail off
and the kitchen blows up its shiny kettle
and the vacuum cleaner swallows its bag
and the toilet washes itself in tears ...”
—Anne Sexton (19281974)