Tonight I encountered a peculiar structure that contained a woodburning fire. The angled edges converge to a square exhaust in the shape of a prism. The picture below shows this structure.

I asked many bystanders and even those tending the fire, but nobody seemed to know what to call this steel structure. So, what would I call it?

One man was sure it was an urn, but I would think those would be open topped and circular. Would he be right?

enter image description here


I would refer to that as a chimenea/chiminea (from Spanish). They are most commonly round with a distinct chimney atop the body, but there are many variations in design.

Here is a product listed as a chimenea that closely resembles the one in the photo.

  • best answer yet. English is quite capable of adopting foreign words in a case like this – IsaacBolinger Dec 15 '14 at 6:48
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    Except that while the picture roughly represents the shape of a chimenea it does not represent how one functions. Technically it's a "burn cage", though the manufacturer probably has a trademark name for it such as "Chimamid". – Hot Licks Dec 15 '14 at 12:25
  • @HotLicks Considering the unusual design of the object in the photo, I can see where you're coming from in identifying it as a burn cage. However, judging by the people in winter clothes gathered around it in the photo, it's being used for warmth, one of the two general uses of chimeneas (the other being cooking/baking). Burn cages are used as low-tech personal incinerators and don't really inspire social gatherings the way chimeneas do. Although the manufacturer has clearly deviated (pyramidal body, no clearly defined chimney) from the "traditional" design, it's still a chimenea in function. – pyobum Dec 16 '14 at 3:10
  • Our next-door neighbor has a more conventional "burn cage" he uses for parties. I doubt that he calls it a chimenea. See, eg, this page: menards.com/main/heating-cooling/fire-pits-outdoor-heating/… Not a chimenea in the lot. – Hot Licks Dec 16 '14 at 3:18
  • There was quite an obvious chimney structure though its not well illuminated enough to see. Take my word for it. It was about a foot or a foot and a half in length. – IsaacBolinger Dec 16 '14 at 4:13

That looks like a form of burn cage or burn barrel. Obviously "barrel" isn't a great fit given the shape, but I cannot find any images of a pyramid-shaped one or a specialized term for it. (Perhaps you could call it a "burn pyramid", but that does not appear to be an established term.)

  • yes it is very unique isn't it. – IsaacBolinger Dec 15 '14 at 5:09
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    Burn pyramid sounds rather like the famous last words of an Egyptian arsonist… – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 16 '14 at 3:22

On the basis of its appearance, I think it could be described simply as a pyramidal burn cage.


In the generic sense, they are called a "fireplace", or "outdoor fireplace". At least, that's what people around here call anything used to hold a fire in the backyard, whether it be a clothes-dryer basin or a fancy wrought-iron stove.

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