I found this bell. Does anyone know about it.
June 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm #12285andrew123Participant
Hi can anyone tell me anything about this bell? It is made of bronze, porcelain, and brass. The man figure, which looks like and American slave is bronze. The grass that he is standing on is made of porcelain. The feet seem to made of brass.It is about 8″ tall. Any info will be helpful. Thanks Aundra.
June 26, 2013 at 3:05 am #17548GarryParticipant
What a great find!
While I have not seen this exact form, I have seen similar (including one on this site somewhere!) in construction and format.
It appears to be a style called a Desk Tap Bell ( the photos are a bit small but I think there is a thumb pressed lever on the back that causes a ball striker to hit the outside of the bell underneath.)
It strongly appears to be from the 1800’s from the design and bell mounting hardware (ie the nut style seen in the underside shot). The format seems to be more from the deep south area.
It’s a indentured servant / slave call bell form. It’s similar in idea to the french ones that the ladies had on their dresser (usually 4 oval iridescent shells mounted around a dome structure) to call the ‘indentured maid’ – but this is clearly a much more masculine design. Think of the master of the house/plantation sitting at his study desk calling the house ‘servant’ with it. The design is a very -in your face – domineering in form. A house slave bell marked with a slave on top to indicate it’s use rather than with the more crass/explicit words ‘slave bell’ !
I am trying to find the B maker’s mark seen on the underside. I believe it to be an American foundry mark but I could be wrong because the combination of materials is usually a more European style. The porcelain and brass construction indicates a high end piece. If I find it I’ll let you know, perhaps someone else here will recognize it.
Very historical in nature and, although the subject is harsh, it’s a well formed study of the period. Even harsh history needs to be preserved. As Edmund Burke (1729-1797) stated (and others such as Santayana and Churchill later paraphrased it), “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”
Congratulations on your eye for a fantastic discovery! Hopefully you will keep it as a treasured piece!
July 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm #17549andrew123Participant
Thanks so much for the great info. Andrew.
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