Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells Bell Found in Central Mine, Great Britain

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    • #10904

      Bill writes:

      Here are some pictures of the clapper-less bell, found in a mine dump that was created almost 150 years ago. It still gives a pleasant ring when thumped with the back of ones finger. Mules that went underground in the old copper mines of this circa, never saw daylight again; living their lives out 24/7, underground. Due to mine illumination only by candles and later sunshine (oil) lamps, the bell is thought to give notice to a mule moving through the levels in almost total darkness. Do you have any knowledge of this type of usage? The miners were originally from Cornwall, so it may have been a Cornish tradition.

      I’m sure the reason it was in the mine dump, was because the clapper was gone. The original mine-rock piles were probably 100 plus feet higher on the slopes below the shaft(s); today they have been worked down (for gravel) to the point of where in some places we must be approaching the starting poor-rock waste from 1854 …

      Thanks again,

      Bill Haller

      ps – I’d be happy to send a small book on the site to you and your UK contacts as a thank you for their efforts.

      To see the pictures of Bill’s bell, please click on these links:

      If you can help, please post a response.

      This inquiry was originally sent to the ABA’s Internet Coordinator. Responses are opinions of individuals based on their personal research and knowledge.

    • #13934

      This is an interesting bell. It appears to be bronze but the crown and the interior are coated with rust indicating that the clapper and external mountings were of iron or steel and corroded away. This could have been an animal bell, but more likely was used for communication. You don’t indicate whether the mine had a vertical shaft or had a horizontal entrance. Bells were commonly used on elevators to indicate when they were about to move. Similarly, carts that transported workers into the mine commonly used bells to indicate when they were about to move. Please tell us more as you gain information.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #13935

      The Central Mine, like all our area copper mines, followed the veins which dipped at a 45 degree slope;plus or minus about 10 degrees. I hope that this helps. Bill Haller

    • #13936
      Rita Walker

      Just viewed the pictures of your bell. YUP…..it’s a Mule Bell all right. You shouldn’t get too excited over it. When I was in the bell business, (buying and selling collections), these bells were nearly impossible to re-sell…..too common over here in the States. Farmers also used them on a variety of other small animals. They were attached to a leather neck strap which had a buckle.
      Bye for now, Rita Walker

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