Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells Colonial or Civil War Era Pewter Bell ID Help Needed

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    • #10752

      Hello – I’m new to this forum & am hoping one of you bell experts out there can help me ID this piece. I recovered this bell from a Confederate Civil War camp site while relic hunting in the surrounding Fredericksburg, VA area this past weekend & was wondering if anyone could assit me in ID’ing it and/or placing a value on it. There were no structures on the site to my knowledge, so I ruled out a store/house bell. I believe the bell pre-dates the Civil War but am not 100% sure. Any help is appreciated! Thanks

        The dimensions of the bell are as follows:
        – Approximagely 9.5 cm bell base diameter
        – Bell top diameter 4 cm
        – Base to top height 7 cm
        – Clanker is made of Iron
        – Markings are stamped 5 and 5 on the top

      Below is a shot inside of the bell

      Below is a shot of the top of the bell, marked with two 5s

      Below is a shot of the whole bell and clanker

    • #13436

      Very interesting. With the clapper so heavily rusted and the bell not, I’m guessing it is made of brass or bronze. Great find.

    • #13437

      I was browsing old submissions that I had not previously seen and noted this entry. This is a bronze bell of the type commonly used in a harp of bells that were attached to the collar or Hame of a draft horse and were commonly known as Conestoga Wagon Bells. These Conestoga Wagon Bells had various designs and were usually manufactured by a blacksmith with existing bells. They included sets of 2, 3, 4 , 5 and 6 bells. They were usually in matched sets to be mounted on the lead team of draft horses of a hitch that pulled a heavy freight wagon. Tradition says that if a team was mired in mud and could not pull themselves out, another team that extracted them from the mud would be rewarded with the bells for their successful effort. This resulted in the phrase “arrived with bells on” indicating an uneventful journey.
      Harry Long, MD

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