Chimney Pot History

Chimney Pot History


North American chimney pots are of European origin. Specifically, the countries of England, Italy and France played a significant role in introducing chimney pots to America. Immigrants longing for freedom and a new start brought their architectural and building concepts with them. These concepts then influenced American architecture.

Probably the most prolific supporter and advocate for chimney pots in the 19th century was Andrew Jackson Downing who is well noted as the father of the American landscape. His basic value was that the comfort and security of a well-built home would make for a secure and moral country.

Downing says, “One of the most characteristic and beautiful features in rural Gothic architecture is the ornamental chimney shaft, sometimes rising singly, sometimes in clusters from the roof—but frequently wreathed and molded in the most picturesque manner.” Windows and chimney tops he notes, “are two of the most essential and characteristic features of dwelling houses…to which decoration should always be first applied rather than to any less essential or superadded features.” Chimney tops, he notes, “should always be rendered ornamental, both because strongly expressive of comfort, no house being tolerable in a cold climate without fires, and on account of their occupying the highest part of the building, and therefore being most likely to strike the eye agreeably.”

As American architecture took on other designs and concepts from around the world, the ideas from Gothic architecture began to fade from houses and as a result chimney pots were not seen atop chimneys as often. However, coal was still being used in American homes and the added length the chimney pots gave to the chimney allowed for an improved flue draft. This kept the smoke from entering the home.

Chimney pots became popular again during the 20th century as English architectural ideas enjoyed a resurgence in the American consciousness. Homes built during the 1920s were intended to imitate Tudor and English Revival homes and therefore architects once again began using chimney pots at the top of the chimney.

In the 21st century, chimney pots are enjoying a resurgence in popularity and use. Americans love convenience and a good deal. Chimney pots are relatively inexpensive, simple to install, and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and construction. Chimney pots are functional, but they also add that extra measure of beauty to the outside of a home. Home value is also increased while the homeowner is also able to express their identity through the architectural addition of a chimney pot.


A correct understanding of exactly what a chimney pot does requires an understanding of the other parts of the whole chimney assembly.

A chimney cowl is placed on top of the chimney or incorporated into the design of the chimney pot to prevent birds and other animals from building nests inside the chimney. It will also prevent smoke from reentering the chimney through a possible backdraft. A rain guard is often added to prevent rain and snow from traveling down the chimney.

A spark arrestor is included that minimizes the amount of burning debris escaping from the chimney. A chimney damper is a metal plate used to close off the chimney when not in use.

Simple Installation

Chimney pots are simple and easy to install and maintain. Although installation will vary somewhat based on the type and style of chimney pot you choose, the essential steps are similar.  

1.     The installation will require a trowel, mortar, silicone caulk, and a ladder to reach the top of the chimney.

2.     If the chimney pot does not have a wire mesh built into its design, the installation of a wire mesh cut to the size of the chimney opening will keep animals and debris from collecting in the chimney.

3.     Next, excess flue tile is removed.

4.     The chimney pot is placed and set in mortar.

5.     The mortar is tapered so rain will run off.

6.     The installation is maintained by inspection and repair. currently offers a wide variety of chimney pots for many different architectural styles. Chimney pots can be manufactured in clay, steel, copper, and other materials. Designs include Tudor, Mediterranean, French, German, Victorian, Contemporary Mountain, Roman, Scottish, Canadian, Colonial, Camelot, Windsor, Virginian, Halifax, Bostonian, and Latin. Custom chimney pots are also made according to customer specifications.

In addition to this wide variety of chimney pots, also offers chimney caps, chimney cleaners, and chimney repair supplies.

Chimney pots are that special touch needed for a custom built home or a period one that has been restored to its original glory. Whether you are stepping back into previous centuries in architectural style or stepping all the way into the 21st century, a chimney pot will add value and aesthetic pleasure to the place you call home.