Cow bell – souvenir, award ???
January 2, 2010 at 8:02 am #11370
I have a very large cow bell. the bell is 22cm wide and 17cm tall. The leather strap is 4.5 inches wide and 6mm thick and by the looks of the leather and the metal buckle it seems to justify the date which appears on the bell ( 1948 ). There apears to be a oval makers mark which is ” GEBR.BERGER – BARUU “. I was wondering if this is an old time sovenir, award, etc. If anyone can help it would be appreciated.
January 2, 2010 at 8:52 am #15605Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
So far, I have found that “Gebr.” in English means “Bros.” It would appear that “Gebr.” is German but I’m not positive. So it could be that the bell was made by the Berger Brothers.
Does the bell say “An Gottes Segen Ist Alles Gelegen” on it? I’ve found several translations, all of which are a variation of “God’s blessing gained, all is obtained”.
My best guess would be that this bell is of German origin. I hope someone else has more accurate information.
January 2, 2010 at 8:36 pm #15606
This appears to be a Swiss Cow Bell. The shield with the Red Cross in the center is the symbol of Switzerland. The bell was apparently made in 1948. Remember that Switzerland is multilingual with German spoken in the Cantons adjacent to Germany, French spoken in the Cantons adjacent to France, and Italian spoken in the Cantons adjacent to Italy. The inscription appears to be German. This bell was probably used as a cow bell or goat bell, but smaller versions are sold as souvenirs, usually with a straight leather handle. I have not seen this design before. A pound of bell was used per 100 pounds of animal.
Harry Long, MD
January 4, 2010 at 6:47 am #15608
Thankyou both for your input. Carolyn you are correct in stating the phrase on the bell, I googled the phrase and got quite a few different translations but their meaning is roundabout the same. I don’t collect cow bells but when I came across this one I was very impressed and couldn’t so no. Here in Australia there is a huge following for the collection of cow bells and I’m amazed at times the prices that some go for. I hope I don’t catch the bug…..
January 4, 2010 at 6:49 pm #15607maxkurilloParticipant
Hi all, jest had to remark about this bell and strap attachment. This bell looks like some of the ones that Winston Jones had in his museum. There were 20-30 of various sizes and shapes hanging and a few without attachments. This bell is quite beautiful, with sharp clean lines. We have only one view and incomplete lettering to draw conclusions from. We do not know where the oval marker is located or what it looks like. The remark of “dating the leather strap to the bell date” is playing it loose. This brings up a question, is this leather strap original to the bell? When was it put on the bell? The date of 1948 could refer to any number of things, a personal date (birth, wedding, lottery winning), maybe a organization date (start of business, first million, bankruptcy), or a holiday, not necessarily the year it was made. It could mean anything. The branches with seven leaves could be meaningful, and require some research. The shield and cross seems to indicate Swiss culture. The wording is German but it is not an indication this bell was made in Germany, Switzerland or any German speaking country. It could have been made 10-20 years ago in Iceland, Peru or China. In this age, Iceland makes souvenirs in Spanish, Peru makes souvenirs in Arabic, and China makes souvenirs in English. Where it was made we will probably never know. Another question is; was this bell, roll formed or cast? This brings up a whole new subject of bell analysis. The branches look like they were brazed onto the body, a more careful look at these is in order. How is the strap handle secured to the bell?. How is the clapper secured to the inside top (this could indicate a replaced clapper)?. Was it a cow bell? Does the leather smell of cow? I think it’s to nice to be a cow bell. To indicate that this bell is a cow bell is like saying that every dog in Switzerland has a keg of brandy around it’s neck. If cows wore all the alleged “cow bells” we claim there would be the sound of music in all the hills and glens in the world. Perhaps this is part of a set of “year dated bells” that would be hung during holiday calibrations. If this were the case then most likely all the other dated bells (of the series) would have the same inscription, something to look for. I think this is a charming bell to be hung and enjoyed, surrounded by the mysteries of its origin. Max Kurillo
January 4, 2010 at 8:45 pm #15609Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
Once again, Max, you have given us some excellent food for thought!
January 5, 2010 at 2:30 am #15610
This is a typical cast brass or bronze Swiss Cow Bell. It is called a Glocken Bell. They come in sizes from 2″-12″ diameter.The cheaper, Treichel Swiss Cow Bell is a shaped sheet steel bell and brass dipped of varying sizes with a similar wide leather belt to attach it to the animal’s neck. The former have a musical sound and the latter has a clunky sound. In 1960, following the Luray, VA ABA Convention, my Grandfather purchased several similar bells from Willy Staub, a dairy farmer from Winchester, VA who had bells of various size cast in his homeland, Switzerland, for use on his dairy cattle. He indicated that it was common to place a bell of 1 pound for every 100 pounds of animal. With a herd of cattle, the melodic sound of the bells reminded him of is homeland. He believed that the music calmed the cows and resulted in higher milk yield. The clapper is cast steel on a thick wire and is attached to a steel shank that penetrates the crown of the bell from a steel loop through which the leather strap is placed. More elaborate show bells often included colored felt on the strap. The graded Saingelier Swiss Cow Bells that were produced by Bevin in America were a similar design and were regularly sold from the 1890s through the 1960s. For modern Swiss Cow Bells you may wish to view the following website http://www.swisstraditions.com/bells/bells.html .
Harry Long, MD
January 5, 2010 at 4:40 am #15611
Gents thanx again for your thoughts. I have provided some more pics to look over and I must say the bell is definitly cast, one piece ( the branches have not been brazed on ). I googled Gebr.Begrer and a company that is in Germany pops up straight away but I have been unable to find out what Barau is standing for. Anyway hope the extra pics shead some more light on to its possible history.
January 9, 2010 at 7:00 pm #15612
Barau is a town in Northwestern Switzerland in the German Speaking area near Emental. The rosettes have the Edelweis flower in them representing Switzerland. This is clearly a Swiss Cow Bell and was probably cast in 1948 for use on a dairy cow. This is a beautiful bell and a welcome part of any collection.
Harry Long, MD
January 30, 2010 at 4:43 pm #15604AnonymousInactive
ABA member Kurt Rothmann in Germany sends this information and these photos. He writes:
In case it is still of interest for your “Bell Talk” friends, I can give you the complete address of the bell founder Berger. Decka had asked for information about him in Jan. 02, 2010.
CH-3552 Baerau in Emmental
I found the foundry Berger accidentally passing by driving in Switzerland in May 2005. I visited it and took the enclosed photos. (Photo 1412 is showing my car parked in front of the foundry.) One year later, I got the enclosed flyer scan0001 advertising the imitation of an old bronze bell in reduced scale produced by Berger.
The letter combination as in the word Baerau stands for the letter “a”-Umlaut of the German language that means an “a” with two dots on it. This letter is part of the firm logo Baetrau. See the photo of it Decka has shown in his email from Jan. 5.
The flyer contains the web address of Berger, too: http://www.swissbells.com and the email address.
I would like to use this chance to mention a book of interest for collectors of Swiss Cow Bells: it is the book
Treicheln, Schellen, Clocken
published by our Swiss ABA member, Robert Schwaller in 1995. According to him, the Bergers were the first producers of clocks starting in 1730. They opened later a bell foundry in 1790. In the year 1959, a new foundry in a new building opened on Baerau Street, where it is still working today.
This brochure is written in German.
Thank you, Kurt, for sharing this valuable information with us!
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