Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells So, what is this worth? Re: Re: So, what is this worth? (Part 48)


Original Schweizer Glocke von 1900. ” Rarität “
Original alte Schweizer Glocke von 1900.
Rundum beschriftet, mit:
“Vom neuen Saeculo gesandt, bring Glück dir einig Schweizerland.”
“Seid einig-einig-einig”,
“Segen Deinem Haus Bedeute, Friede Bei Ihr Erstgeläute”.
Randaufschrift: Fulgura Frango, Vivos Voco.
Material glaube aus altem Eisen. Klöppel wurde erneuert.
Höhe 13cm, Durchmesser 8,5cm.
Eine wahre Rarität.

Original Swiss bell from 1900. “Rare”
Original old Swiss bell of 1900.
Rotating inscriptions labeled with:
“Sent by the new Saeculo (**), may it bring luck to one Switzerland.”
“Be united-united-united”
“Blessings upon your house, may it mean peace with your first peal.”
Edge inscription Fulgura Frango, Vivos Voco.
I think the material old is iron. Clapper was renewed.
Height 13cm (5.2in), diameter 8.5 cm (3.4in).
A true rarity.

(**) Saeculo is a strange word, not normally used in German so a translation is unavailable, but I think it must be related to the Latin Saeculum, which in Romance languages evolved into Siecle (French), Secolo (Italian), etc. In that case it would mean Century.

The full text around the rim should read “Vivos voco. Mortuos plango. Fulgura frango.” More on that later.

The bell was intended as a memento of the coming century and wishes for peace and prosperity.

An unusual feature is that the bell was cast with zinc in a three-part mold, with relatively high relief and excellent details. Zinc will reproduce a design even better than brass or bronze, though the tone is not nearly as good. One of the mold lines may be seen running vertically between the “19” and the “00” on the pictures of the German versions below. Great care was taken so it would not intersect and other details.


The seller is correct in that this is a rare bell, at least in this particular version. Had I realized it at the time I would have attempted to purchase it. The more common version is the same base but configured for Germany, not Switzerland. The next two pictures show the reverse of the Swiss and German bells.

There are a variety of handles used on the same bases. The next pictures show two of the German versions.
Note that the second has partial gilt.


In reference to the inscriptions around the rim:
“Vivos voco. Mortuos plango. Fulgura frango.”
“I call the living. I mourn the dead. I repel lightning.”

This is the motto of Friedrich Schiller’s poem “Song of the Bell”, which describes the complete construction of a church bell from planning, to casting, and then installing.

The Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_of_the_Bell) explains:

The Song of the Bell (German: “Das Lied von der Glocke”) is a poem that the German poet Friedrich Schiller published in 1798. It is one of the most famous poems of German literature and with 430 lines also one of the longest. In it, Schiller combines a knowledgeable technical description of a bell founding with points of view and comments on human life, its possibilities and risks.

As a small boy Schiller came in contact with the trade of bell founding because Georg Friderich Neubert, the son of the Ludwigsburg bell founder, was a classmate at his Latin school and the Schiller family lived only a few doors away from the casting house. It is also considered to be certain that Schiller visited the Neubert family again during his stay in Ludwigsburg 1793/94. More than ten years passed between the first basic idea for the poem and its completion. During this time Schiller closely observed the sequence of operations in a bell foundry. In the family of the Rudolstädt bell founder Johann Mayer it was related from generation to generation, “how Schiller repeatedly visited the casting works and interrogated the casting master, who was at first was not pleased about this disruption to the work, and how the pale scholar considerately took a seat at the wall in a high-backed chair in order not to disturb the work.”

First reactions to the Song of the Bell were without exception positive. Its success was attributed to each person’s being able to find meaning in it. At a solemn meeting of the Royal Academy in Schiller Year 1859, Jacob Grimm praised “this incomparable poem, far superior to what other peoples can offer,” and declared it to be a national symbol of unity. But despite great enthusiasm for Schiller’s longest poem there was also considerable criticism. It was too emotional, too lofty, too garrulous; people criticized technical details, and over 100 parodies were written. Those of the 19th century were not critical of the original, which was greatly admired, but instead strived to make use of this very well known poem for their own ends. Many Bell parodies shifted the observations about the production process to the production of food and drinks like bread, beer and coffee.

The next two pictures are of the cover and one on the illustrations from a published copy.

There was a series of (six, I believe) postcards that showed various episodes that could
be construed from the text of the poem describing construction of the bell – a type
of reverse anthropomorphism. Four of them (Nos. 1-2-3-6) are shown below.