Just an old brush, which looks pretty similar to the string bound paste brushes that bookbinders and conservators use. How many of us would even give it a second thought– passing over it at a flea market, or when cleaning out our own stash toss it? But this brush can be located and dated to the Mason House, Guilford, Virginia from about 1730. And according to Gaynor and Hagedorn, it is the only known surviving pre-1800 American brush.
This book contains a great defense of the value of tools, how they help us understand human culture, and the importance of preserving their original condition. And it contains lots of beautifully photographed tool porn.
Gaynor, James M. And Nancy L Hagedorn. Tools: Working Wood in Eighteenth-Century America. Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia, 1993. p. 111.