Thursday, September 20, 2012

13 Rings

 Here's my most recent creation. The painted design is based upon original artwork found on a fire bucket from the 18th c. The letters within the 13 interlocking rings reads; "Liberty & Peace"...a motto we can all cherish! Each ring has painted upon it the names of the 13 original States. The clasped hands is a design copied directly from an early fire bucket...this handshake holds a secret. This custom bucket is bound for a client in New Hampshire.

 The fire bucket stands about 13" tall at the rim and the handle adds another 7" to the height. The diameter is a little over 9". Inside the rim, under the leather covering, is a steam bent oak stave. All original fire buckets had some sort of internal bent wooden rim to add support to the bucket shape. Later in the late 19th c. there were some makers that used an iron rim or heavy iron wire to support the opening.

 The method of applying the wooden rim to the exterior of the leather bucket and stitching a leather covering over top is a design feature indicative of 18th century made fire buckets. The other common method which came along around the turn of the 18th to19th c., was to fold the sides of the bucket over the wooden rim. I do not see the folded technique appearing on buckets until around the year 1800. By the 1820's almost all makers had assumed the fold-over method of construction. Why? As you see here in the example above, there is an extra line of stitching needed to preform this older style, thus more work. By cutting the leather of the body longer the maker could then simplyy fold the extra length over the rim and save himself the time of cutting a separate piece of leather as well as omit the need for an extra line of stitching. This new technique as far as I have been able to determine is an American innovation and was never adopted by English or European makers.

Illustrated above is an example of an early 19th c. American fire bucket with the fold-over rim method. Note~ only one line of stitching.

 Here is a variant rim construction. Instead of wood, the maker used rope as the core and covered it with leather. It requires two lines of stitching although the top line of stitching is hidden by the way the rim leather is folded. (A small area of the top line of stitching is visible where 1" of rim leather is missing).
  It is possible that this bucket was made in Europe for the American market as every construction detail is performed differently from any English or American bucket I have ever examined. I will expand on this bucket in a later blog posting.

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