A Brief History
Tulikivi fireplaces and baking ovens belong to a group of wood burners known as thermal mass fireplaces, masonry heaters, or masonry stoves. Simply put, they store the heat, not the fire.
This style of fireplace was developed as a result of Europe’s first energy crisis in the 18th century, during what is known as the “Little Ice Age.” Much of Northern Europe was becoming deforested because of consumptive and inefficient fireplaces. The Swedish king ordered the reinvention of the domestic fireplace, and the first masonry stoves were born. The firewood that had formerly been burned in a single day could now heat a home for an entire week!
News of these fireplaces traveled to Finland. The Finns of the Karelian Mountains began crafting similar designs out of soapstone, adding to their intrinsic efficiency.
Around the beginning of the 20th
century, the Finnish Soapstone Company (Suomen Vuolukivi Oy) was formed in the village of
Nunnanlahti. In 1980, the company was reorganized and began producing
stoves using the name Tulikivi (“fire stone”). Since then, it
has grown to become the world’s largest producer of soapstone
fireplaces and baking ovens.
Soapstone—The Magical Stone
The heart of the Tulikivi system
is its soapstone. Soapstone is a metamorphic stone formed billions of years ago under intense pressure and temperature. It is an ideal
material for stove construction.. In addition to its striking good
looks—be sure to look through the Photo
Gallery—it has a great natural ability to withstand high temperatures.
Soapstone stores over twice as much heat per unit volume as other common
fireplace materials, and it can absorb heat seven times faster. It is
composed primarily of talc and magnesite. The talc makes it easy to work
and gives soapstone a wonderful softness to the touch. The magnesite,
particularly abundant in the Finnish soapstone used by Tulikivi, makes it durable and gives soapstone its superior heat-retaining
How a Tulikivi Functions
A Tulikivi fireplace combines the
enjoyment of a roaring fire with a clean and efficient home heating
source. This is accomplished
using the high combustion/thermal mass
principle. Wood is burned in the firebox at high temperatures, which can
quickly reach 1500º F. This intense combustion promotes high efficiency, low emissions to the environment, and a spectacular
fire view. From the firebox, the superheated gasses travel upward through the throat
and fire tube before they turn downward through heat exchange channels,
transferring energy to the surrounding soapstone. (In the most common
type of installation, the fireplace is vented to the chimney near the
floor.) When the fire is out, the
dampers are closed, and the soapstone mass radiates heat for 12-24
hours. Air surrounding the fireplace is also heated by the exterior
walls of the unit, and this creates a convection current that
distributes warm air throughout the room. Unlike many other wood-heating
appliances such as iron woodstoves, the exterior of a Tulikivi fireplace
never becomes dangerously hot to the touch.
The Appeal of Tulikivi
Atmosphere. Tulikivi offers an opportunity to return the fireplace to the heart of the home. The central hearth creates a tangible sense of well-being—inviting and satisfying.
Comfort. Like the energy from the sun, Tulikivi soapstone fireplaces and ovens produce gentle radiant heat. It is the most healthful form of heat and does not parch the air like metal stoves and hot air systems.
Beauty. Soapstone heaters are a joy to live with. Few architectural elements can compete with a roaring fire framed in the beauty of soapstone. A patented airwash system keeps the glass door clear and free of soot, allowing a clear view of the intense combustion that the Tulikivi system creates.
Efficiency and Convenience. Because the wood is burned completely and the heat is stored in the mass, Tulikivis maximize the heat output of wood and are easy to use. A short 1- to 3-hour burn cycle per day will contribute a significant amount of heat to your home.
Safety for Your Family and the Environment. Relatively low surface temperatures make Tulikivis safe and enjoyable to touch. Near complete combustion ensures no chimney fires and low particulate emissions to the environment. The thermal storage capabilities of our units allow you to continue heating without a fire burning while you are asleep or away from home.
Appropriate Technology. Burning wood in a Tulikivi is an environmentally sound use of a renewal resource that offers some element of self-sufficiency. Using a Tulikivi does not contribute to the greenhouse effect.
Hearth Baking. Using a wood-fired oven is a return to a simpler, more basic way of cooking. Pizzas and breads cooked directly on the hearth of your Tulikivi oven are sure to please.
Value. The many advantages
of the Tulikivi system combine to create a value-packed investment for
your home and the enjoyment of life.