Innovation of the Era!

Would You Build It With Wood?

During the 1600's, colonists did not have the modern conveniences we enjoy today. Their homes were heated with fireplaces and sometimes the fireplace chimney was made out of wood, which was a fire hazard. Their homes were also made of wood and often had thatch roofs. The colonists also had to light their homes with candles or oil lamps. These sources of light were also sources of heat and could easily start a fire if left unattended or if they tipped over.
This reproduction redware lamp is similar to lamps used by the Dutch colonists. Oil, tallow (rendered animal fat) and suet (raw animal fat) were all used as fuel for these lamps. Lamps such as these, as well as candles, were used as light sources and could easily start a fire.
Many of the colonists lived in houses with thatch roofs. Thatch is dried plant material and although it does not ignite any faster than other materials, once it is on fire, it is very difficult to put out.