This is an antique turtleback fireplace bellows that has its prior ownership history attached to its side. It is totally original and untouched including the brass nozzle and paint decorated boards. The leather is still pliable but it does have three patches glued to the folds that seem to be doing their job since you can feel the air when the bellows are pumped. The gold stenciled floral design on the dark green based flat board back shows little wear.
The turtleback or curved boards floral decoration is also visible but is less vivid. The handles are especially wonderful as they are extensions of the wood that form the two sides.The flat sided handle is straight but the curved sides handles curve outward which is a sign of craftsmanship. The fascinating ownership history is written in India ink on paper that was glued to the flat sided board or back and reads.
From the store of Henry Sell, Gettysburg, Pa. Carthage, Ill 1894 or 1897. The paper shows aging as you would expect on a document that appears to have been attached over 100 years ago. The leather bindings, tacks and paint decorated wood of the bellows also show wear that is commensurate with age and use. The bellows are 17½ inches long, 7 inches wide and 2 inches thick when closed.
I was not able to find a history of Henrys store in Gettysburg, but did learn that Henry was listed in the 1800 census as the son of Jacob and the brother of Abram from Littlestown, Adams County, Pennsylvania. The Sell family are listed as one of the original founders of the town in 1765. The population of Littlestown in 1800 was only 250 people! The item "Pre-Civil War Pa. Fireplace Bellow's from Gettysburg Store AAFA" is in sale since Saturday, March 14, 2020.This item is in the category "Antiques\Primitives". The seller is "irishbelle" and is located in Eugene, Oregon. This item can be shipped to United States.