Tools of the Trade

In addition to children, geese were often employed as implements of chimney cleaning. An old chimney sweep phrase is, “The blacker the goose the cleaner the flue”. The sweep would tie the legs together and toss it down the chimney. The flapping wings would knock some soot down. Of course the work wasn’t any better for the birds than it had been for children!

In the early part of the 18th century various types of chimney cleaning methods were being developed. An engineer from Bristol, England, Mr. Joseph Glass, is widely recognized as the inventor of chimney cleaning equipment, which has become universal even to this day. This was the design and introduction of canes and brushes, which could be pushed and propelled up from the fireplace into the chimney above. Early canes were made of malacca and imported from the East Indies. Brushes were made of whale bones, no nylon or polypropylene.

The other method of cleaning flues that was developed originally came from Europe. This was the ball, brush and rope system which was lowered down from the top of the chimney. The weight of the lead or iron ball pulls the brush down, thus cleaning the chimney.

In addition to the traditional brushes and rods, today’s chimney sweep uses a variety of sophisticated tools and methods for inspection, cleaning, and repair. From video cameras and scanners, to computer aided diagnostic electronics, to brush and vacuum systems, today’s chimney sweep takes advantage of the latest in high tech equipment to more easily deliver comprehensive, reliable, and quality chimney services to customers.