An andiron (older form "anderne"; med. Lat. "andena", "anderia"), sometimes called a dog, dog iron, or firedog, is a horizontal iron bar upon which logs are laid for burning in an open fireplace. They are usually used in pairs. In older eras (e.g. sixteenth to eighteenth century AD) andirons were also used as a rest for a roasting spit or sometimes had a cup-shaped top to hold porridge. The earliest andirons were forged from wrought iron. [ [ Metalwork from the Index of American Design] ]

Andirons hold up the firewood so that a draft of air can pass around it, allowing proper burning (thus minimizing smoke). They typically stand upon short legs and are usually connected with an upright guard. This guard, which may be of iron, steel, copper, bronze, or even silver, is often elaborately ornamented with patterns or heraldic ornaments, such as the fleur-de-lis, with sphinxes, grotesque animals, mythological statuettes, or caryatides supporting heroic figures or emblems. Such a decoration in the form of a canine plays on the dual meanings of the word "dog" (canine and inanimate-holder-or-blocker).

Previous to the Italian Renaissance, andirons were almost invariably made entirely of iron and comparatively plain, but when the ordinary objects of the household became the care of the artist, the metalworker lavished skill and taste upon them. Even men such as Jean Berain, whose fancy was most especially applied to the ornamentation of Boulle furniture, sometimes designed them. Indeed the andiron reached its most artistic development under Louis XIV of France, and the first extant examples—often of cast iron—are to be found in French museums and royal palaces. Firedogs, with little or no ornament and made of metal or ceramic, were also used in kitchens, with ratcheted uprights for the spits. Very often these uprights branched out into arms or hobs for stewing or keeping food hot [ [ Fireplace Andirons from Fireplaces Magazine] ] .



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  • andiron — [and′ī΄ərn] n. [ME aundiren (with ending altered by assoc. with IRON) < OFr andier < Gaul * andera, andiron, heifer (so named from use of bull s head as ornamentation on andirons) < IE base * andh , to sprout, bloom > Gr anthos: see… …   English World dictionary

  • Andiron — And i ron, n. [OE. anderne, aunderne, aundyre, OF. andier, F. landier, fr. LL. andena, andela, anderia, of unknown origin. The Eng. was prob. confused with brand iron, AS. brand [=i]sen.] A utensil for supporting wood when burning in a fireplace …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • andiron — (n.) c.1300, from O.Fr. andier, of unknown origin, perhaps from Gaulish *andero a young bull (Cf. Welsh anner heifer ), which would make sense if they once had bull s heads cast onto them. Altered by influence of Middle English iren (see IRON (Cf …   Etymology dictionary

  • andiron — /and uy euhrn/, n. one of a pair of metal stands, usually of iron or brass, for holding logs in a fireplace. [1250 1300; ME aundyr(n)e, AF aundyre, with the 2d syll. taken as ME ire, iren IRON < OF andier, allegedly < Gaulish *anderos young… …   Universalium

  • andiron — noun Etymology: Middle English aundiren, modification of Anglo French aundyre, alteration of Old French andier Date: 14th century either of a pair of metal supports for firewood used on a hearth and made of a horizontal bar mounted on short legs… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • andiron — noun A utensil for supporting wood when burning in a fireplace, one being placed on each side; a firedog; as, a pair of andirons …   Wiktionary

  • andiron — Synonyms and related words: chain, coal tongs, crane, crook, damper, fire hook, fire tongs, firedog, grate, grating, grid, griddle, gridiron, grill, griller, lifter, poker, pothook, salamander, spit, tongs, tripod, trivet, turnspit …   Moby Thesaurus

  • andiron — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) n. firedog, grill. See heat. II (Roget s IV) n. Syn. firedog, dog, metal hearth support, fireplace lift …   English dictionary for students

  • andiron — and·i·ron || ændaɪən n. one of two metal stands that hold logs in a fireplace …   English contemporary dictionary

  • andiron — [ andʌɪən] noun a metal support, typically one of a pair, for wood burning in a fireplace. Origin ME: from OFr. andier …   English new terms dictionary

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