Foot Scrapers





The foot-scraper , that first aid to the thrifty colonial housewife, can almost lay claim to having come over in the Mayflower, so soon after the establishment of the early settlements did it appear, and so closely did it adhere to the well-known designs of its European forebears.

Streets, even in the thriving villages and towns of the later colonial period, were unpaved and almost impassable with deep mud-holes during spells of wet weather, so what the early roads must have been like is best left to the imagination. Whether at the house in town, or for the men-folk to use when they came in from the barns and fields to the simpler country dwellings, the foot-scraper was therefore almost a necessity in those days when the floors of even the best rooms were innocent of any garniture but sand.

In many instances when iron was not available the early scrapers were made of stout pieces of old oak, and we have seen some that combined wood and iron.

The primitive wrought-iron ones were usually simple and practical in form, often just the plain scraper member inserted in the riser or the house wall, as in When these quaint labor-saving devices began to have side supports and grew more ornate, the most popular design was the scroll, found in almost endless variety in nearly all the colonies. Later, when railings adorned the entrance-steps, the scraper was frequently incorporated with them at the lower end near the newel post.

Philadelphia seems to have had the most elaborate scrapers, some of which are still doing duty. If other cities excelled her in this field, there are no more examples left to prove their claim. Strangely enough, foot scrapers were not at all common in old New Orleans.

Hand forged foot scrapers, made to order. Many fine examples are shown in Sonn's book "Early American Wrought Iron" in plates 258-277.



Cat. No.



Foot scraper 


Foot scraper, custom made to your design or ours. 

Can be made with screw mounting for attaching to wood or drive mounting for securing in cement or rock.



Copyright 2002 - Ball and Ball
Last modified: Tuesday, 05-Nov-2002 19:40