January 9, 2010 at 5:49 pm #11372GarryParticipant
Here’s a bell that I am surprised does not show up on a search for “colonial brass bell” on this web site!
It’s incomplete, normally has a D handle on the top connecting to a bar with ball on end clapper inside. Someone has modified it with a jury rigged handle and clapper system.
It’s 3 1/2″ high, by 5″ in diameter and is of brass construction.
Markings are “COLONIAL 1911 COLONIAL 1832”
I believe the Colonial to be the brass works company but the only one I can find on line do not appear to sell brass bells. (At least they don’t show up on a quick search of their website.).
I have come across this style of bell, with various dates on them. They don’t appear to be in any of my reference books thus far.
Anyone got more info?
January 9, 2010 at 7:08 pm #15625hjlong3Participant
I’ve see these before with nickel plating and with a steel flattend “D” shank for mounting to a leather belt. They were used as animal bells. This clapper and mounting appears to be make-shift and not original.
Harry Long, MD
January 9, 2010 at 8:32 pm #15626GarryParticipant
Hey Harry! Long time no hear!
I agree, the flattened D shape handle is normal. I am curious about two things though.
1. The unusual ‘flower’ pattern inside the bell where the clapper goes through the top.
2. The fact that there are many of these with different dates. If it was just an animal bell, would it be likely they would even bother with dates? And if they did, would they change them every few years? The dates are only about 5 years apart (ie Mine is 1911, I have seen 1913 and 1939).
3. Is Colonial the company (manufacturer) name?
So many questions !!!
January 9, 2010 at 9:16 pm #15627Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
In The Bell Tower of November-December 1988, there are two pages from an old Bevin Catalogue, one of which has the following ad:
As you can see, the Colonial Team or Cow Bells were made by the Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Company in East Hampton, Connecticut.
Bevin Brothers Manufacturing
10 Bevin Rd, East Hampton, CT 06424
Ph. (860) 267-4431 | Fx. (860) 267-8557
The ad says:
Colonial Team or Cow Bells
Designed for use where it is necessary for a bell to be heard from a long distance
GIVES A PLEASANT BUT PENETRATING SOUND
*Recommended for team or cow bell
Made from Special Metal in Large Sizes Only
No. 22 4 inches
No. 32 4 1/2 inches
No. 42 5 inches
You might also want to check out Bevin Brothers on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bevin_Brothers_Manufacturing_Company
January 10, 2010 at 10:19 pm #15623JuliainTexasParticipant
I have a 5″ “Colonial 1832 Colonial 1920” with “D” handle. There is a brass “D” handle on top, attached by a round iron bar (it has a rust patina inside the bell) which appears as a “rose head” (beaten to spread it slighty to hold it in position) on the center top surface of the bottom of the D. The other end of that bar is an “eye” formed by bending the bar in a perfect circle. The clapper threaded onto that “eye” is a cast iron 4-branched star on stalk, with a closed eye at the top of the stalk. Each branch about 1 inch long. There is an outlined half circle in the center of the star, but I can’t tell if there’s anything definite inside that figure. There is light rust patina on this assembly as well as on the formed eye bolt on which it hangs.
I think this is most likely the original clapper assembly and “D” handle attachment. The bend of the eye starts within one sector of the 4-clover”cut-out” cast into the inside top of the bell, as others have noted…it’s not going to turn loosely within the bell. It’s fixed so the “Colonial” on each side of the bell will be to the sides as worn on a leather neck strap, with one of the dates facing to the front, and the other facing to the animal.
It has a bright, sharp ring that would carry very well in the pasture.
January 10, 2010 at 11:38 pm #15624Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
One of my Colonial bells looks somewhat like the description that JuliainTexas’. The dates on my bell are 1832 and 1918. This bell has a deep wear groove on the inside. My mother used to tell me that clappers with a cross on them were older than the ones with a ball on the end. Has anyone else heard that?
January 16, 2010 at 3:57 pm #15628MarieParticipant
As there was not much written about the Colonial bells, my husband and I have been slowly doing our own “research” by primarily collecting the bells. Most ABA members have or have seen the advertising sheet shown by Harry. Beyond that, I have one authentic Bevin catalog. These bells were in production for 20+ years. All Colonials that I have seen have the same marking 1832 COLONIAL and then another date, supposedly denoting the year of production. We have not seen any bell dated earlier than 1909 nor later than 1930 – they may be out there and we would love to know about it. For quite some years, I have intended to write an article for the BELL TOWER, giving what positive information I have and asking for help from others, but never got around to it. Among all of us, we could probably fill in some blanks.
February 18, 2010 at 8:08 am #15622MitchMiamiVegasParticipant
I have just become aware of this site because of my search for a “Colonial Bell”. I just obtained one of these Colonials off of Ebay today, from a supposed Estate Sale.
This one is dated 1928.
July 17, 2010 at 4:21 am #15621
Colonial Bell – much has appeared on this topic, and it is now time to pool our collective information. Marie has agreed to write an article for The Bell Tower and I will assist in collecting information. All contributors will be acknowledged but no specific information will be published on just who owns which bell(s). Once it appears, a summary of results will also be posted here.
It has been mentioned that apparently the bells were available in three sizes – 4″, 4 1/2″, and 5″ diameter measured across the mouth of the bell. We would like to know if any other sizes have been encountered.
Two clappers are known, one that is described as a ball or disk (see picture), and another described as a cross, cross-tongue, or star. I shall refer to these as ball or cross. Marie and I think that the ball clapper was used on the 4″ bells and the cross clapper on the 4 1/2″ and 5″ bells. Again, please make a special note of any variations to this pattern.
Marie has seen dates ranging from 1909 – 1930. She thinks initial production was high, was reduced in the WW1 years of 1916 – 1919, then high production again, and finally a second reduction. Whether we can verify this depends on the number of responses that we receive from readers. We know there are many of these bells out there, and every response is important, so please assist us as much as possible.
Most bells have pairs of dates of the form 1832 – 19xx. However, she has seen some with a date of 1837 instead of 1832, and we would like very much to know just when these appeared.
I have five of these bells in various dates and sizes and Marie has quite a few more. The horizontal band in which the inscription appears has what I would describe as a “pebbled” composition, while I would describe the remainder of the bell as “smooth” and much like other animal bells of this era. However, Marie has a Bevin catalog which says that the bell was available in a choice of surfaces (and prices) – rough, rough with turned edge, polished, and tinned. We must assume that all of ours are “rough” though that is a subjective description since we have no definitive examples of the second and third varieties. The last “tinned” or tin-plated variety might look shiny as a nickel-plated surface would, though how much of the plating might remain after 80-100 years is unknown.
In order not to clutter up this link unnecessarily, please send the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org
I will compile the basic information in table form, and pass specific information to Marie. For each of your bells I would like to know:
1) Diameter of the mouth of this bell, probably 4″, 4 1/2″ or 5″. Please note any variations.
2) Dates on this bell, probably 1832 – 19xx. Please specifically note 1837 if encountered.
3) Type of clapper – ball or cross.
4) Surface, if specifically known to be anything other than “rough.”
Thus, the basic information transmitted might be like (4 1/2″, 1832-1911, cross), (4″, 1832-1915, ball), etc. If you have any other specific and verifiable information to add, please send that as additional notes.
Puritan Bell – this has been discussed briefly in a separate link and seems to be related to the Colonial bell
but very little is known about these bells. One difference seems to be that the Colonial bell has a brass loop and the Puritan bell has an iron loop. I have seen one in a 4″ size with a ball clapper and a 5″ size is mentioned with a cross clapper. Some are said to have a 1492 date, and others with a 1622 (or 1822) date. Perhaps they have both dates, or different dates. If you have specific information about a Puritan bell, then please pass that along also and we may try to incorporate it in this article.
July 17, 2010 at 9:31 pm #15620
Colonial Bell – Update on rough vs polished
Marie has gone through her collection again and only found a few on which the surface could generally be described as rough. She now thinks that polished (smooth to the touch) must have been the standard version, and fewer than 10% might be classified as rough. Again, please inform us if your experience differs.
It might help if emails to me could show a topic of “Colonial Bell – Info”
Thanks again for your assistance.
September 20, 2010 at 8:50 pm #15619AnonymousInactive
How’s the research going along? I know my mother (Doris Granger) liked Colonial bells and I have bought a few myself. I dug through a box of animal bells today and, lo and behold, I found four Colonials and 1 Puritan bells. So, here is my tally at this point:
1914 – 4″ diameter – ball clapper
1914 – 5″ diameter – cross clapper
1915 – 4.5″ diameter – cross clapper
1918 – 4.5″ diameter – cross clapper
1922 – 4.5″ diameter – cross clapper
1922 – 5.5″ diameter – cross clapper
1928 – 4″ diameter – ball clapper
1492 – 4″ diameter – nut for clapper on original “wire”
1622 – 4.5″ diameter – cross clapper
1622 – 4.5″ diameter – ball clapper (I would say this has a rough surface but I”ll have to have Mickey or Marie Varian take a look at it.)
I hope you are getting lots of responses from people! Bell research and articles in the Bell Tower are very important to our purpose and organization!
Thanks to you and the Varians for your work!
August 8, 2011 at 2:14 pm #15629katemoParticipant
I too, have a Colonial bell. It is 5inches in diameter, with a cross clapper and the dates are 1832 and 1911. The last 1 in the date 1911 appears to be added on after it was molded. So in 1912 they would have added the 2 and so on for the entire decade.
I am happy to read that it was an animal bell, which makes sense to me because I got it from my grandfather who was a Vermont dairy farmer until his retirement in 1978.
October 28, 2012 at 4:35 pm #15630
The following is from Christopher B. L., reporting on a Colonial bell that has been in his family for many years:
mine is a little different in having only the 1832 date –
it is blank where the others have a date from 1909 -1930
1) Diameter 4 1/2″
2) 1832 only
3) Ball Clapper
4) Surface – more smooth than rough
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