Typical Dutch example of frugality
The doofpot is a typical Dutch example of frugality. It consists of a pot with a lid that can be sealed as airtight as possible. The pot often stands on small legs. The burning or smoldering pieces of wood were put into this when the inhabitants left the fire. The lack of air caused the wood to extinguish and char. The doofpot was also used to extinguish peat or coal, both fuel for use in a stove.
The 'doofpot' from the 18th and 19th century was made primarily of red copper and brass. However, stone cauldrons also date from earlier periods.
Since the Middle Ages
The first use of the doofpot occurred at least in the Middle Ages. Back then, many houses were made of wood, and it was a hazard to leave a fire smoldering.
Functions of the doofpot
Efficient use of firewood
In the days when everyone fired and cooked on wood, wood was scarce and expensive. This was especially true in the densely populated Netherlands. In the 18e and 19e centuries, large parts of the Netherlands were completely deforested. By putting burning and smoldering wood in the doofpot, much of the burning stopped, and the charred wood pieces could be used the next day again.
Kindling at hand
The charred wood pieces worked well as kindling for the next fire.
Reduced the risk of fire
Especially in houses with wooden exteriors or interiors, leaving a burning or smoldering fire was a fire hazard. Using the doofpot reduced this fire hazard.
Reducing smoke and soot in the room
A fire that goes out slowly produces a lot of smoke and soot. The use of the doofpot reduced these emissions. As a result, the room became less stuffy and required less frequent painting.
Using the doofpot is even now a sustainable choice
Many of the doofpot functions are more topical than ever. Wood and kindling are scarce and expensive; we would like to save on that. Many people today have a wooden floor that is a fire hazard. In addition, we would like to continue heating, but as sustainably as possible. By using the doofpot, you reduce the emission of particulate matter.
In short, it's high time we realized again that we can tap into old solutions to face new challenges.
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