Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums General `Bell Stuff` Donkey Tap Bell, or Call Bell in recent Bell Tower article

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    • #12542
      Robert Watrous

      A recent article in the Bell Tower by Rob Roy titled “Donkey Mechanical Tap Bell – Original or Reproduction?” gave a great description of the differences between the original and the reproduction. I’ve seen a few of both. I have never seen one with the owl. I have a reproduction, but have yet to add an original to my collection. I don’t collect tap bells. I collect bell toys, so why would I be interested in this tap bell? It’s because it was made by Gong Bell Manufacturing Co. of East Hampton Connecticut, the largest bell toy maker in Bell Toy Town. This might be the first time East Hampton was called Bell Toy Town. East Hampton has been called Bell Town for over a hundred years.

      In an undated illustrated “Price List” of “Bells and Bell Toys” by Gong Bell on page 11 is the “Donkey Call Bell.” Toys and bells with patents are marked patented. This tap bell and at least one toy that was later patented is not marked patented. Based on the known patent dates I’ve put the catalog date around 1877. The illustration for the “Donkey Call Bell” shows the owl cap for the plunger mechanism just as the patent drawing did. Unlike patent drawings, the illustrations for Gong Bell catalogs are very accurate representations of the toys and the bells.

      The donkey that shows up on this tap bell is also very similar to the donkey used on a cap gun by J&E Stevens and a bell toy called “WHOA DAR CEASAR” which has a rider on the donkey and when the donkey kicks up it hits the bell. At one time I would have attributed this tap bell design to the work of Charles Bailey as he designed many toys for both Gong Bell and J&E Stevens. Seeing the E. L. Morris patent for the tap bell debunks that assumption, and makes me now wonder who designed the toys.

      I tried to insert an image of the catalog page here but it does not seem to be working. I will add one to my web site and get one here later if I can. If you google search for Watrous Bell Toy you will find my site, or put the following address into your browser: http://belltoys.ning.com/


      Life is good, Bob Watrous

    • #17965

      Bob, stay tuned for the next edition of the Bell Tower. Rob

    • #23448
      Robert Watrous

      Attached is a photograph of a reproduction Donkey Hotel tap bell from my collection.

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