Small Gust of Wind Encourages Big Fires With Fireplace Bellows
About the same time man discovered fire, he discovered that a small gust of wind, usually made by his lungs, helped encourage larger flames. He soon tired of this and invented another way to blow air on the flames, a bellow. Anthropologists believe these early bellows to be nothing more than a bag fastened out of animal skins in which they could force the air out onto the fire, once they had blown the air into the ‘bag’. Each subsequent model would be fashioned in a similar way with something that would be able to collect the air and then force it out through a narrow passage way or valve. Many English fireplace bellows were intricately decorated and detailed with carvings and jewels as were the early American brands.
Rarely do people find early American fireplace bellows that are dated past the 18th century, and most are from the 19th century. Made of leather, wood and brass, many of the antique fireplace bellows found today have seen better days. This is because they have been used for their given purpose and the leather dries out, the wood cracks and the nails rust and fall out.