ANDIRON (older form anderne; med. Lat. andena, anderia), a horizontal iron bar, or bars, upon which logs are laid for burning in an open fireplace. Andirons stand upon short legs and are usually connected with an upright guard. This guard, which may be of iron, steel, copper, bronze, or even silver, is often elaborately ornamented with conventional patterns or heraldic ornaments, such as the fleur-de-lys, with sphinxes, grotesque animals, mythological statuettes or caryatides supporting heroic figures or emblems. Previously to the Italian Renaissance, andirons were almost invariably made entirely of iron and comparatively plain, but when the ordinary objects of the household became the care of the artist, the metal-worker lavished skill and taste upon them, and even such a man as Jean Berain, whose fancy was most especially applied to the ornamentation of Boulle furniture, sometimes designed them. Indeed the fire-dog or chenet reached its most artistic development under Louis XIV. of France, and the first extant examples-often of cast-iron-are to be found in French museums and royal palaces. Fire-dogs, with little or no ornament, were also used in kitchens, with ratcheted uprights for the spits. Very often these uprights branched out into arms or hobs for stewing or keeping the viands hot.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)