AskDefine | Define bellows

Dictionary Definition

bellows n : a mechanical device that blows air onto a fire to make it burn more fiercely [syn: blower]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A device for delivering pressurized air in a controlled quantity to a controlled location. At its most simple terms a bellows is a container which is deformable in such a way as to alter its volume which has an outlet or outlets where one wishes to blow air.
  2. Any flexible container or enclosure, as one used to cover a moving joint.
  3. Plural of bellow
  4. The lungs.
  5. Flexible, light-tight enclosures connecting the lensboard and the camera back.

Related terms


air blower
  • Czech: měch
  • Finnish: palkeet
  • German: Blasebalg
  • Korean: 풀무 (pulmu)
any flexible container or enclosure
  • Finnish: palje
informal: lungs
This table is for colloquial terms meaning "lungs". For other terms, see: lung
  • Finnish: palkeet


  1. third-person singular of bellow

Extensive Definition

A bellows is a device for delivering pressurized air in a controlled quantity to a controlled location. Basically, a bellows is a deformable container which has an outlet nozzle. When the volume of the bellows is decreased, the air escapes through the outlet. A bellows typically also has a separate inlet and valves or flaps for ensuring that air enters only through the inlet and exits only through the outlet.


Several processes, such as metallurgical iron smelting and welding, require so much heat that they could only be developed after the invention of the bellows. The bellows are used to deliver additional air to the fuel, raising the rate of combustion and therefore the heat output.
Various kinds of bellows are used in metallurgy:
  • Box bellows were and are traditionally used in Asia. (1)
  • Pot bellows were used in ancient Egypt. (2)
  • Accordion bellows, with the characteristic pleated sides, have been used in Europe for many centuries. (3)
  • Piston bellows were developed in the middle of the 18th century in Europe (4). However, the double action piston bellows were utilised by the Han rulers in ancient China as early as the 3rd century BCE (5).
  • Metal bellows were made to absorb axial movement in a dynamic condition.Often referred to as Axial Dynamics bellow types (6)
The ancient Chinese engineer Du Shi once applied water-power (waterwheel) to operate bellows of a blast furnace forging cast iron. The ancient Greeks, ancient Romans, and other civilizations used bellows in bloomery furnaces producing wrought iron.
In modern industry, reciprocating bellows are usually replaced with motorized blowers.

Further applications

  • Bellows are widely used in Industrial Applications such as Rod Boots, Machinery Way Covers, Lift covers and Rail Covers.
In musical instruments, the bellows is often employed as a substitute or regulator for air pressure provided by the human lungs.
The following instruments use bellows:

See also

  • sylphon for uses of metal bellows in experimental physics and engineering.

External links

bellows in Czech: Měch
bellows in German: Blasebalg
bellows in Spanish: Fuelle (neumático)
bellows in Esperanto: Balgo
bellows in French: Soufflet (outil)
bellows in Italian: Mantice
bellows in Latin: Follis
bellows in Lithuanian: Dumplės
bellows in Dutch: Blaasbalg
bellows in Japanese: 鞴
bellows in Norwegian: Blåsebelg
bellows in Simple English: Bellows
bellows in Finnish: Palje
bellows in Portuguese: Fole de ferreiro
bellows in Swedish: Bälg
bellows in Turkish: Körük
bellows in Samogitian: Domplės
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