The wheel bellows
Published in: Folk Life
Resource verified by SHCG editorial group
A characteristic feature of the dwelling house in most parts of Ireland was the open hearth or the hearth on floor level. With such hearths some means of creating a draught was necessary, particularly with certain types of fuel. Draughts were induced in many ways, ranging from the ordinary primitive method of using a piece of cardboard, a thin metal sheet, or an apron, to the more sophisticated hand bellows: The ordinary hand-bellows (worked with both hands, the wind being expelled through a pipe) is used (and was). People who were too poor to afford a bellows got a sheet of paper or some solid light object, stood in front of the fire and with the object held extended in both hands moved it quickIy up and down with a perpendicular motion.