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Very Rare - Revolutionary War Wig Powder Bellows


Product Description

This is another rare 18th century artifact being offered, it is a Wig Powder Bellows. It is made of leather and wood and measures 2 ¾” x 5 ½” with a removable fill cap on the top.

During the 18th century the fashion for wigs, both in England and America, was at its height and became something of a status symbol. Perukes (powdered wigs) were teased into fanciful shapes; the more expensive examples being made from real human hair. An everyday wig cost about 25 shillings (a week’s pay for a common laborer in London), whereas a large elaborate example could be as much as 800 shillings – hence the name “Bigwig” was coined.

Powdering was a intricate process – the wig or hair first being greased or oiled so that the powder would stick and a powdering cape placed over the shoulders to prevent clothes being ruined. The hairdresser then stood as far back as possible whilst the powder was puffed from the little bellows. A hole in the top (usually sealed by a cork) was used to fill the bellows with powder.

There is a near identical example of this bellows from a descendant of the House of Bourbon, but it is missing the small cork stopper (see pictures). Another example is in the Guilford NPS Revolutionary War Museum (see pictures). It is really amazing that this piece survived for almost 300 years. Without doubt, this would qualify as a museum piece. It remains in very nice condition and something you just don’t see – the first I ever came across.              

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$6.50 (Fixed shipping cost)