The original bell pull was a cord or (fancy textile often with a tassel) connected to a bell or some sort of system that rang a bell. The bell pulls we are most familiar with were used in the home. When the cord was pulled, a bell rang somewhere in the house and a butler or maid appeared. Some of these systems were quite elaborate with a multitude of bells. The tone of a bell was associated with a particular room, for example the dining room or parlor.
If you lived in America and were wealthy in the mid-1800’s, then your home probably had one of these fancy bell pull systems. Mary Todd Lincoln was instrumental in setting up the first system in the White House. It appears she purchased a majority of her pulls from New York rather than stitching them herself. This also tells us that bell pulls indicated the wealth of the homeowner. The pull could be a simple cord or an elaborate woven or stitched tapestry. Modern bellpulls may be elegantly finished by the addition of Brass Bellpull Hardware which is available in different widths for finishing. You may also choose to finish your bellpull in chrome or wood. A bellpull is the perfect decoration for a narrow wall space and offers you the chance to show off your stitching, along with offering a fun history lesson. Keep on Stitchin'! Beth