Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells Help ID these interesting crotal Bells?

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    • #12169
      reich4313
      Participant

      Hi. I came across these cool bells as part of a large lot at an auction. I have never seen any quite like them and am having a hard time finding informaation on them. They appear to be bronze and are 1.5″ in diameter. There is a rivet like shank for connecting to a sallong or other? Any ideas?

    • #17244
      hjlong
      Member

      These are Chestnut (Buckeye) Bells manufactured by the NN Hill Bell Company of East Hampton, CT. NN Hill was acquired by the Bevin Brothers Bell Co.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #17241
      reich4313
      Participant

      Dr. Long,

      Thank you so much. I have been browsing the forums extensively for the last few days and your knowledge is impressive!

      Can I push my luck a bit… Any idea on date of manufacture?

      Thank you Sir,

      Bill Reich

    • #17242
      hjlong
      Member

      Late 1800s-early 1900s. My Grandfather, J. Oliver Elliott, bought the NN Hill Molds for these bells from Bevin in the late 1950s. They are rare and a full set would be very valuable. To my knowledge, they were manufactured in one size only. Yours look original. ABA member Don Livingston bought the molds from my grandfather in the late 1970s and manufactured them for sale. Some of the new bells appear from time to time and are distinguished by their lighter weight.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #17243
      reich4313
      Participant

      Thanks again. I find it fascinating that you have a personal history with these bells.

      What would you condsider a complete set, I have five of them.

      Also, in researching these bells, I came across a very interesting anecdote. Apparently, dandy gentlemen of the gay 90’s took to wearing “chestnut bells” as part of their frivolity attire. When they would tell a joke and laugh, the resulting skaking would make the bell ring. This, according to the anecdote, led to the saying, “he was telling a chestnut”.

      Have you ever heard of this? Do you think they might have been referring to these bells of your grandfathers?

      Thank you,
      Bill Reich

    • #17240
      hjlong
      Member

      That’s the first explanation for “telling a chestnut” that I have heard, but it could be true. As far as I know, NN Hill only made one size and these would have been used on light weight carriage/sleigh horses. A belly band would have had about 20 bells and a neck strap may have had a dozen. A web site that you might find informative is http://www.classicbells.com .
      Harry Long, MD

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