The centerpiece of homes a hundred years ago was a functional fireplace. You can see this photo of a home from 1935 has a prominent and functional fireplace. The fireplaces were designed to actually heat the home. Today, most fireplace inserts to not provide any meaningful heat, and in fact, since most pull air for the fire from the home interior, they actually create a draft that draws more cold air into the house than the heat they produce. In other words, most modern fireplaces have a net negative heating effect on the house. The fireplace above is large, built with real fire bricks, and could be used for heating or cooking.