Glass Wedding Bells
Tagged: Dating Glass Wedding Bells
February 15, 2011 at 6:07 pm #11711halanbParticipant
Note: Someone asked for a picture of a traditional glass wedding bell but I could find none on this site. Therefore, I will contribute a few and ask that readers do the same. I suggest you consult Al Trinidad’s books for more information.
Glass Wedding Bells
These glass bells are often called Wedding Bells, as they were sometimes given as wedding gifts including, supposedly, by Queen Victoria of England. They are blown glass bells, made mostly in England between 1750 and 1930. A few were made in the United States toward the end of that period.
The older ones were made with the base and handle separately, then joined together with plaster of paris. A wire loop, to attach the clapper, was embedded in the plaster. The clapper was either a glass ball on a wire or chain, or a piece of blown glass with a loop at the top end to fit through the wire loop. The glass bell (base) was very thin, and the clappers were often removed to prevent possible breakage.
Picture 1 shows a cranberry bell with white rim and ribbon handle with three clear knops (the little round pieces at the top of the handle, 13 in, 33 cm). The clapper is two glass beads on a chain. Cranberry is a very common color.
Picture 2 shows a lavender bell with ribbon handle (height unknown). The wire loop and glass clapper can be seen clearly.
Picture 3 shows a green bell with clear handle and five green knops (11 in, 27 cm). Green was not a popular color at the time and it is unusual to encounter a green bell.
Picture 4 shows an opalescent swirl bell with clear handle (8.5 in, 22 cm, a rather small size).
Picture 5 shows a bell (12 in, 30 cm) with a cranberry and white base, and opalescent vaseline handle. The vaseline glass has low grade uranium oxide (harmless) added to it and will glow with a bright green color under ultraviolet light.
Pictures 6 and 7 show a bell with clear base, white swirl pattern, and clear handle (9 in, 23 cm) and a bell with white base, red swirl pattern, and clear handle (10 in, 25 cm). This style is generally called Nailsea glass.
Picture 8 shows a bell with purple glass, hand-painted flowers, and clear handle with twist pattern (11.5 in, 29 cm). This is a modern bell made in 1976 in an edition of 100 bells by the Pairpoint Glass Company, USA.
Pictures 9 and 10 show wedding bells from a museum exhibition.
February 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm #16282jwodarskiParticipant
The pictures of the museum are so beautiful. What museum is it and where is it located?
February 24, 2018 at 2:20 pm #26076
How can you date these bells?
April 2, 2018 at 7:52 pm #26577Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
You ask a good question, harryjames! One of the big benefits of belonging to the American Bell Association is that it gives you access to people who have collected bells for decades, the opportunity to participate in ABA Chapter meetings and activities, annual bell conventions, and the chance to talk to other bell collectors and “pick their brains” for information about all aspects of bells and collecting!
Many of our members have done extensive research and have shared their findings with others in many ways such as reading and learning from books about bells, writing articles about what they’ve learned and submitting them to our The Bell Tower, the ABA’s bi-monthly, 48-page, full-color magazine, have given presentations at Chapter Meetings, Regional Meetings, and, of course, at our Annual ABA Conventions.
Our ABA Historian holds the ABA’s collection of every article about bells printed since our organization was created in the early 1940s! We make copies of these articles available to members free of charge. If you go to , you will find a listing of our articles by category, title, author, the month and year the article was printed and the number of the page on which that article appears! EVEN BETTER, the historian has the ability to send you copies of the article(s) via email as well as “snail mail”! On the first page of the “Bell Tower Articles by Category” index, you will find the contact information for our historian. Forewarning: this index is 78 pages long at the current time and, of course, the category of wedding bells is on the last page (listed in alphabetical order by category)!
Unfortunately, I don’t see a specific article listed about determining the age of bells. That information may be included in specific articles from time to time. I suspect you have already searched the Internet to learn more about the history of glass wedding bells.
I wish you luck at finding out how to date glass wedding bells! If you’re successful, please share that information with us!
April 3, 2018 at 4:14 pm #26597
Thank you Carolyn for your reply. I have looked into the section but I cannot find any reference to your historian. Please, I have found a incomplete copy of the march-april 2008 “The Bell Tower” – volume 66 number two. I would love to read that copy. Any chance of having in sent to my email?
April 3, 2018 at 4:48 pm #26598Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
harryjames, I can understand your missing the contact information for our historian. It is at the top of the very first page of the Bell Tower Articles by Category section in very small print. It says, “Request a copy of any article from AAA historian Kathleen Collins, telephone: 724-295-9623 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org”.
You will find the category “Wedding Bells” on page 77 of 78, 6th row up from the bottom of the page sandwiched in between “Waterford” and “Wedgwood Bells”. The article about
Glass Wedding Bells
was written by ABA Past-President Barry Halbritter and appears in the Mar-Apr 2008 issue on page 14. These articles are not downloadable from the Internet. You must contact our Historian and ask her to email the article to you.
This particular article is six pages long and includes full color pictures of many different styles of wedding bells. It does have a few paragraphs in a section of the article titled “Definition and History.”
Please remember to tell the Historian whether or not you are a member of ABA. I know in the past we have charged a fee for copying and mailing of the articles but I’m not sure what the policy for non-members is now.
August 21, 2018 at 12:07 pm #27128
I have been considering a few things concerning these beautiful bells. So far I have a good 25 and a few more should come into my possession very soon.
I was wondering: has anyone thought of creating a list of the different known colors and their composition?
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