November 4, 2009 at 2:29 am #11269
here is a different sort of desk bell I just picked up.
All brass, the hammer hanging from one fin is used to strike the bell.
The bell is 1.5″ diameter, 1.75″ tall
The entire display is 5.5″ long and 5″ tall
No maker or marks that I can see.
I suspect this was mounted on a base or something as there is a 5/8″ hole in the plate for some reason. Seems a bit big just to be a mounting hole though.
Anyone know what belongs in that hole?
November 12, 2009 at 3:12 am #14964
I believe that the hole in the base was formed in the dolphin bell for design and not for the purpose of hanging the bell. I have two dolphin bells, one the same size as yours and the other is 3xs larger with a hole about 2xs larger. The bells are well supported upon their bases, but it would be very difficult to hang them by the holes in the base. I could send you a pic of my bells if you would be interested but it will be a few days before I will be able to.
November 12, 2009 at 2:17 pm #14965
Hey BB416 Always interested in seeing other bells!
I’m not sure I intended to say that the hole was for hanging the bell, but I am wondering if the bell hadn’t been mounted on another base of some sort. It’s just that the hole then is much bigger than I would have expected for anything like that. A simple screw hole would have sufficed.
Just letting my imagination go though, perhaps the mounting ‘screw’ for that hole was a small figurine? Say a piece of corral?
Alternatively it is the size of a nice piece of stone and, as you noted yourself, the base is sufficient to support the structure already. I am imagining a blue stone mounted in the hole that is now missing.
As far as structure is concerned, the hole makes no sense. It has to have had a purpose of some sort!
November 15, 2009 at 6:11 am #14966AnonymousInactive
Julia asked me to post this message to you:
I just wanted to tell him that my dolphin bell’s stand has the same sort of hole. That flat display plate containing the hole reminds me of nothing so much as the escutcheon plate for the outside “knob” of a through-the-door twist “doorbell”. Maybe the maker of the bell just used a handy mold for the base? Doesn’t look to me like it was specifically meant to “mount” anything, like a stone.
November 15, 2009 at 1:54 pm #14973
That is possible and an interesting idea.
I’ll have to see if I can find it in that form too.
November 17, 2009 at 11:18 pm #14967
As I said I have two of the dolphins bell and have seen many others and they are all the same. But happy searching. Let us know if you find anything to the contrary
November 18, 2009 at 2:43 am #14971
Deb and Julia,
Sure will let you know if I discover anything else. I suspect that it is a door bell button face plate as suggested though. It explains the smooth ovals at either end, where they would drill them out for mounting screws.
I’ll keep my eyes open, but I am pretty satisfied with this answer.
November 18, 2009 at 3:11 am #14969Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
How would this hang as a doorbell? Wouldn’t the button (in the circle on the base) be difficult to access if it were mounted in a vertical position? Wouldn’t the bell hang awkwardly if it were mounted horizontally? Is the bell loud enough to be a stand-alone ringer if was hit with the little hammer? Obviously, I’m having trouble envisioning this as a door bell.
November 18, 2009 at 3:42 am #14970
Oops! i wasn’t clear.
You are correct it doesn’t hang, we were only talking about the original intent of the base ‘sans dolphin’. The idea is that the base itself is recycled. Look at the base without the dolphin for a moment. Note it has two oval lozenges at either side at about the same distance apart as the screws in a typical house hold switch face plate. I would think that, when these units were molded, they would mold around the part where the button would go (to be pressed to ring the door bell) but would drill out the screw holes later. This is because the distance apart for the screws is slightly different in different countries (different electrical box standards). They would be drilled out in the lozenges at a distance apart accordingly, later, for the country to be sold in. It was no use putting decorations where they were just going to drill out the screw holes (on one end or the other of each lozenge) later anyway so they are left blank.
What we think has happened, is that somebody got a hold of a bunch of these ‘face plates’ for doorbells and has used them instead as a brass base for likely a few things, the dolphin bells being one. It certainly goes a long way to explain the oddness of that base unit! Such as the odd ovals on either side, and the big cut out circle in the center. (I think I personally would have put a nice piece of green glass or something there to disguise it more myself.)
The dolphin simply sits on it as if it were a statue which sits on a table or desk as in my first photo.
It was an excellent catch by Julia, as it certainly confused me since I had not considered the recycled idea at all. I get caught on that from time to time, such as the half bell item also posted that Harry recently kindly and gently points out to me is probably recycled too.
November 18, 2009 at 2:34 pm #14972
I understand what you are saying now. My bell came with a striker attached to the dolfins fin. Great catch Julie
November 18, 2009 at 7:50 pm #14963JuliainTexasParticipant
I wasn’t thinking of a “button” type doorbell. My Dolphin has an escutcheon plate as a base. The plate has a 3/4″ hole in the center, is a total of 4″ long and 1 1/4 inch wide. It has an acanthus leaf design cast into it, with a smooth “lozenge”, 3/4″ by 3/16″ set into each end of the design. The base of the leapig dolphin is screwed into the outboard end of one of the lozenges just where, on the other one, there is a dimple on the bottom matching the machine screw location. The acanthus leaf design is what tells me this may be an escutcheon from MECHANICAL times. Old houses had very fancy hinges, plates around door handles, etc. like this.
The house I grew up in had TWIST bells inset below the glass in entry doors. The bell was on the inside. The shaft extended through the door and an escutcheon plate that matched those around the door knobs, and ended in a flat bar knob that one twisted to announce their presence. (You COULD hear it all over the house, as the door’s wood seemed to magnify the sound). The 1911 Sears Catalog house has now been torn down & I DIDN’T get a bell!
My dolphin was purchased in a brass shop in Annapolis, MD some time in the mid 1980s, and has a “made in Taiwan” sticker on the bottom.
November 18, 2009 at 10:28 pm #14968
Mine doesn’t have the dimple(s) you mention. I am not as certain – again I am not an expert – about the door handle possibility, it seems a bit small a hole for that, but it is plausible. I know my father-in-law’s door had the old door knob style (Much bigger plate to accommodate the skeleton key lock system) and I seem to remember the knob shaft was smaller than ‘normal’ but not by how much. Like your Sears house however it is long gone too now, so I can’t look.
I have a vintage ‘through the door’ twist bell you describe but the outside plate for that is unfortunately missing, I only have the bell and the thumb twist bar. The shaft for this though is only a fraction of the size of the hole in question so I think that this plate is probably not a used for it.
By the way, I did manage to get a later version where you wound up the bell and then it was tripped by either a push button bar or a pull wire going through the door – your choice! A rather thin door knob or a push button (and I have seen those in Bakelite so I can envision it in brass!) would make perfect sense.
I didn’t know about the door acting as a sounding board for these bells, that’s a very interesting detail I’ll be sure to note on my bells!
Too bad about not getting the sears bell though, I’m sure you would have enjoyed having it.
My dolphin did not come with any markings or tags, unfortunately. I only obtained it recently.
December 7, 2009 at 6:48 pm #14974maxkurilloParticipant
HI All, Just found this dolphin bell on a ? base. little bit different, this one looks like a dolphin, Garry’s looks more like a slick fish, but it all symbolic. Just highlights that quite a few people are putting things together from scrap and selling them—so far Bell Talk can spot the Put Together Scrap bell items, so glad to be part of this discussion. Max
December 7, 2009 at 10:29 pm #14975
Great find Max!
It will be interesting to see how many variations will show up!
I also notice yours has a clapper where as the others are struck with a hammer.
Any markings on yours?
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