Is it beginning to look a lot like Christmas at your homestead but you still need a little something special?..this next offering lending primitive holiday magic may be something for you to consider! A pelt stretcher that was fashioned into an awesome wall box, graced with a fabulous old style Belsnickle, greens and a silver ornament offers a unique, one of a kind piece you can cherish for years to come.
What is interesting about this stretcher is that it's roots stemmed from a labeled crate used to transport German beer long ago. Someone along the way used a portion of this crate retaining the, "Sprenger Brewing co. Lancaster PA". lettering to fashioned a pelt stretcher.
Brewing was a profitable and respected profession during the colonial era. Lancaster county was considered the brewing capital of Pennsylvania during the 19th century and when John Abraham Sprenger opened up his brewery in 1853 it was considered the largest brewery in the area, see images 16 & 17. The name changed in 1896 to "Sprenger Brewing Co." as Sprenger sold the business. This company did very well producing 60,000 barrels of beer in 1905 until the National Prohibition "shut down", took place in 1920. When Sprenger Brewery resumed operations in 1933 they never really recovered from the pre~prohibition levels of success and closed the business in 1951.
I was able to find this unusual pelt stretcher, and immediately envisioned using this on the back to create a primitive wall box laced with plenty of character sprinkled with primitive charm. Harry helped carry out my plans of fashioning a box with a small dip in the front where I would be able to hang a red crimson garland. There is a small nail in the front, off to the right, where you can drape the garland so it stays in place while the ends of the garland can be tucked into each back corner. This nail can easily be removed by just pulling it up in a vertical position. He also added an elongated hole, in keeping to tradition, so this special piece could grace any wall with unsurpassed style. The back of the box has a semi shiny surface with sorrel undertones in the wood as shown in image 10. Dark striations give way to wonderful graining that lends interest and character throughout.
The Belsnickle is antique ~ inspired and what a handsome fellow he is sporting a deep mustard robe lined with silver tinsel and holds a snow kissed tree. His face is hand painted and what a nice expression he has!
Primitive greens fill up the right side of the box while a silver ribbed, aged ornament can be seen off to the left. The fun crimson garland softly drapes over the front and sides presenting a pop of color against the dark wood ground.
This splendid wall box can be used all year as the contents can easily be removed and decorated for the next season ahead. Gourds would be another possibility along with a birds nest tucked inside for spring. Cloth dolls can also be added and when placed in a bedroom near early textiles, my goodness what a grand statement this would make. Either way, this neat piece should become a dear friend to both you and your wonderful homestead as soon as you make it's acquaintance, in person! Enjoy!
Wall Box stands almost 18" Tall, 7" across the top opening, 4 1/2" from front to back, Box alone measures 4 1/4" Tall. The Belsnickle stands a generous 9 1/2" Tall, measures almost 3" across the bottom & 2 1/2" under his arms. Garland measures 33" Long and the beads are about 1/8" wide. Silver ribbed ornament is 2 3/4" tall including the hanger measurement, by 2" across the middle.