Whistler's "Peacock Room" with Thomas Jeckyll's sunflower andirons
Throughout history, functional objects have offered designers an opportunity for expression, invention, even fantasy. Andirons, for example, exist solely to hold logs inside a fireplace, so that oxygen can circulate beneath them and the wood can burn more efficiently. But for centuries, designers have turned andirons into an important decorative element in even the most simple interiors. Here is a quick peek at andirons from the medieval era until the 20th century.