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The hearth was not only used for warmth, but also cooking. This was done by the women and the fireplace was well furnished with pots and kettles for cooking. The brass or copper kettles often held 15 gallons; iron pots weighed 40 pounds. Since there were no matches in colonial days, a flint and steel was used. Fires were not allowed to go out since it was so difficult to restart them.
Back in the 1500's, there was nothing to stop things from falling into the house.This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.