1798 E. State Road 18 Brookston, Indiana 47923

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And most especially to shake his hand or be kissed by him? Many chimney sweeps today are still invited to weddings to help assure a good start to a happy marriage. The tradition began, the story goes, with a chimney sweep who lost his footing and fell from a roof. He was caught on the gutter and hanging by his foot when a young lass, who was engaged to another, reached through the window and pulled the chimney sweep to safety, saving his life. They fell in love and of course, were married.

Chimney sweeps have long been considered a source of good luck. The association of chimney sweeps with good luck, health, and prosperity has its source in folklore.

Legend has it, that in medieval England the king was saved by a chimey sweep, who pushed him out of the way of a runaway horse and carriage. As a reward for his good deed, the King decreed that all Chimney Sweeps should henceforth be regarded as lucky

Tradition and folklore aside, the reality of a chimney sweep's life was anything but romantic and "lucky".
 
In the 17th century England, a "Master Sweep" would employ small boys and girls to climb and scramble up chimneys. The task for these climbing boys was to brush clean the inside of the flue with small hand-held brushes.

They also used metal scrapers to remove the harder tar deposits left by wood or log fire smoke. The children were apprentices and were bound to the trade as young as seven years old. A Master was paid a fee to clothe, keep and teach the child his trade. Sweeps' Boys were usually parish children or orphans, though others were sold into the trade by their families. Some grew up to be Journeymen Chimney Sweeps and assistants to their master.

In London, there was a London Society of Master Sweeps with its own set of rules, one of which included that boys and girls were not required to work on Sundays but had to attend Sunday School to study, learn and read the Bible.

Conditions for the children was harsh and often cruel. They slept in cellars on bags of soot and were seldom washed. Years of accumulated soot and grime often produced cancer. They learned to beg handouts of food and clothing from their customers as all the money they earned went to their masters. The soot they collected was sold to farmers for fertilizer.

It was a dangerous and filthy job for children to undertake. There are recorded instances where children choked and suffocated to death by dust inhalation whilst attempting to clean chimneys. Casualties were also frequent as children became stuck in narrow flues or fell from climbing rotten chimney stacks. Many masters used a dangerous punishment: the child was forced up the flue then a fire was lit. Since the child couldn't come down, he/she had no choice but to climb up the flue. This is where it is thought the term "light a fire under you" originated.

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Certified Sweeps Chimney Professionals
1798 E. State Road 18
Brookston, IN 47923

LAN: 765.563.3826
Mobile: 765.426.4163