Napoleon III Brass Coal Scuttle With Extensive Decoration And Turned Ebony Handle, French Circa 1870.


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Napoleon III brass repousseé coal scuttle with elaborate decoration and a turned ebony handle, French circa 1870.

Two-hinged slant doors raise fully to reveal the inside coal storage area. This highly decorative ‘pail’ is in excellent condition with elegant polished brass relief. It could be use next to a fireplace to store firewood or alternatively to stash magazines or kids’ toys.

A coal scuttle also called a hod, “coal bucket”, or “coal pail”, (fr. seau à charbon), is a bucket-like container for holding a small, intermediate supply of coal convenient to an indoor coal-fired stove or heater. For homes which did not use coal, a coal scuttle might have been simply decorative.

This highly-polished brass coal scuttle would be an upper-to-middle class appointment for the “model” housing; a “model” of consumption and domestic practices of a well-appointed home during the 19th and early 20th century. 1 2 3

height: 23 in. 58.5 cm., width: 22 in. 56 cm., depth: 12 in. 30.5 cm.

Further readings and sources:

  1. Heat for the house was furnished in the 17th century by a fireplace. Then came the heating stove using logs or coal, then a furnace that burned coal. Other fuels came later.

    To get fuel into an old stove or furnace required special tools. A well-equipped fireplace might have tongs, a broom, a poker and a shovel. A decorative fire screen could keep the intense heat away from those near the fire and prevent flying ashes from burning the rug. A basket or bucket held logs.

    During the 19th century & early 20th century, coal was more commonly used. It was kept near the fireplace or stove in a coal scuttle. A scuttle was made of wood, metal, or painted tin. A scuttle was sometimes decorated like a piece of furniture. It opened like a bin, and a scoop was used to remove the lumps of coal.

    Excerpted from “Antiques: Coal scuttles now used as tables, magazine holders” by Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel, SF Gate, Sep. 25, 2007

  2. Coal scuttle Wikipedia
  3. Buckley, Cheryl. “From York to New Earswick: Reforming Working-Class Homes, 1899-1914.” Studies in the Decorative Arts 16, no. 1 (2008): 92–106.

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