Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells Half Bell – What am I?

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    • #11250

      Here’s an interesting bell that I ‘sort of’ remember stumbling across references to. I call it a ‘half bell’ as I seem to remember a base that it sat on. I can’t seem to find them again though.

      The bell is brass but a magnet sticks to the handle and the tri arms in the bottom so parts are iron.
      It’s 3″ diameter by 1.5″ tall (2″ if you include the handle).
      The handle has some sort of vase on it, and it sports 3 (three) clappers (one missing).

      I believe it is from India and sat on a dish (candy dish?). If you notice the skirt it has a lipped edge that would fit ‘over’ a similar inverted bowl nicely.
      Even with one clapper missing, the chiming sound is wonderful.

      I don’t believe it is made to be hung from a harness as the ‘button tops’ of all bells of that type are flat on round shanks. If you look at the profile of this one, it has a sculpted arch type shank and a rounded top that would not sit flat in a harness.

      No other markings that I can see.


    • #14903

      This bell appears to be a single bell from a set of shaft bells with a drawer pull as a handle. The bell is typical of the sets of 4-5 bells that were attached to a harp that was bolted to the shaft of a buggy or sleigh. The triple clapper is also typical of a shaft bell.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #14904

      Good eyes Harry!

      I do believe you are correct!

      It does explain the inconsistencies I was seeing, including things like the handle not fitting tightly and how it looked so similar to the bells you described.

      Any idea why they put the collar around the bell lip like that though? It makes it look like it was to sit on something and I don’t understand why they would do that extra step when it doesn’t seem to add anything to the bell itself.



    • #14905
      Carolyn Whitlock

      Here is a picture of a Russian Saddle Chime that I found in an article entitled “Sleigh Bells and Harness Bells” on page 33 of the Nov.-Dec. 2002 The Bell Tower. If you look closely at the very top chime, you’ll see that it has the same kind of lip on it as the one you have. I have seen other bells with the same lip on them. The three clappers is the give-away (in my opinion) that this was born as a shaft bell or saddle chime of some sorts.

      My mother used to refer to your type of bell as a “mongrel” – any cross between different things, esp. if inharmonious or indiscriminate.

      The Bell Tower is the official publication of the American Bell Association International, Inc. Reprints of articles are available from the ABA Historian for the cost of copying and postage. When contacting the Historian, please include the title of the article and the month, year, and page number of the issue in which it appeared. Orders may be placed via phone call, USPS mail, or email. To order, contact: Leonard Hill, ABA Historian • 1929 Radford Ave. • Claremont, CA 91711 U.S.A. • Telephone: (909) 624-5695 • E-mail: bellahill@msn.com.

      To find the list of available articles, please go back to https://www.americanbell.org, click on the menu option for “Bell Tower Directory”, and you will find a list of articles that are organized by category of bells.

    • #14906

      I also think that this is a combination of several different parts. The handle appears to be an antique drawer pull. The bell and clapper could very well be from a saddle bell as the other poster said. The clapper is also similar to those found in sanctus bells.


    • #14907

      My thanks to all of you!

      Your observations and assistance are superb!

      I believe you have nailed this one down fully, and I do appreciate the help!


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