19th Century Slave Bell?
November 3, 2011 at 4:21 am #11901kylesmillsParticipant
Dear Bell Talk:
I am Baylor University BBA student minoring in “Museum Studies.” As part of one of my courses, I am required to do an object assessment on an object in our campus museum. I found an old hand-held bell in our collection that made me curious. Fortunately for me, this bell had a completely blank accession record.
The only information that I have about the bell is that it was accessioned under two tags: Judge Baylor (the founder of our university) and Slave. This beckons many questions! This aim of my research is to discover why the bell might have been accessioned with these tags. Right now, I am gathering as much information as possible about the bell itself. Any help would be thoroughly appreciated! 😀
- Static Height (Handle at rest): 6.75″
Dynamic Height (Handle Erect): 8.5″
Writing or Engraving: None
Material from which the Bell was made: I assume Brass; however, I can do no tests to confirm because the object has been formally accessioned and is part of the collection
History about the bell: As far as I know, it was used by Judge Baylor as a hand-held bell in the courtoom, classroom, or in his own house.
Bell as is –
Inside of Bell-
You can certainly PM me on the forums; however, I am also available at Kyle_Mills@Baylor.edu or if you would like to me talk to me over the phone, I can send you my cell number via email upon request and proof of legitimacy.
Thanks so much!
November 7, 2011 at 2:55 am #16632GarryParticipant
Welcome to our ABA site!
Yours is a classic Bevin style design. The Bevin bell company, Connecticut, USA has been around for about two centuries now, so that’s not a surprise!
check out bevinbells.com which is their website.
If you have access, even indirect, to the bell a non invasive test is to simply hold a magnet up against it. If it sticks, you have an iron bell. The patina I see however suggests that you are correct, it’s a brass bell. The handle / clapper attachment appears to be iron.
With such a long history, provenance is important to determine age. The style of mounting of the handle to the bell is of a very early type, you might ask the Bevin folks if they can identify the years that this style of mounting was done.
Also, could we see a close up of the end of the handle? The type of head/mount could also provide clues as to age. It’s hard to tell but it looks like the handle has pulled into the bolted /top over time (it’s a heavy bell) and away from the bell proper. Normally they are fixed tightly together. I have seen this problem before and usually I see it fixed with an ‘old’ repair of a washer placed between the bolt and the top of the handle to prevent it from pulling into the soft wood again.
Hopefully this helps you in your research!
November 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm #16633kylesmillsParticipant
Thank you so much!! I will be calling the Bevin company today and seeing how I can get in touch with some of their knowledgeable employees.
As for the handle and magnet test, I will be with the bell tomorrow around noon so I can definitely grab some shots then.
Thank you again for the lead and I will certainly post about how my conversation with Bevin goes today!
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