Posted 10 years ago
I have displayed images of a very early ENGLISH LEATHER FIRE BUCKET. I was told that it is an English bucket due to the picture on the front of a coat of arms, from the Queen Elizabeth the 3rd reign.
Measuring 8 inches in diameter x 15 1/2 tall. It is made of leather and lined with canvas.
Leathern Fire Bucket
The Great Fire of London, that began in a wooden house on Pudding Lane in 1666, burned for three days, destroying 13,200 homes, 88 churches, and hundreds of buildings including hospitals and libraries. Fire was a very serious business.
By 1700, leather fire buckets were dispensed throughout the city. They were three gallon buckets, made of cowhide reinforced at the brim with a wooden hoop (usually of hazel or wicker). Attached to the hoop were two iron rings, between which was strung a long handle of leather-covered rope. The leather was usually thin, and stitched over the rope. Many antique fire buckets (especially of the 18th Century) have lost the leather cover on the rope.
The base panel of the bucket is like a shallow leather dish; the walls of the bucket are sewn around the edge. In addition, two pieces of stiff leather were sewn into the base of many buckets (in the form of a cross) to act as stiffeners. The walls of the bucket were usually one piece of heavy leather (approx. 5 mm thicks) wrapped into a slightly tapered funnel shape with the ends sewn together, making a side seam. The interior was often (but not always) lined with linen.
Fire ordinances of many communities in Europe and North America required every occupant or owner of a store or dwelling to have one good painted leather fire-bucket, with the initials of the owner's name painted thereon for each fireplace or stove in the building, the bucket to be hung within easy reach. They hung on the walls, filled and ready with sand. Once emptied of their sand on the blaze, they would be refilled with water. When the alarm rang (sometimes church bells, or twirled rattles swung by volunteers called Rattle Watchers or Prowlers), the shout of throw out your buckets would be quickly heeded by everyone. Filled fire buckets would be passed from a water source, down the line to the fire by strong-armed men, and returned by another line made up of woman and boys.
Often, fire buckets are labelled with the owner's name (often a municipal by-law) or blazoned with patriotic motifs, such as an eagle in the United States, or the Royal cypher in Britain and Canada.
I welcome any and all information pertaining to this item.