May 14, 2012 at 1:48 am #12052
I found this bell at an antique shop for $35.00. Its metal approximately 2-3 pounds with a 4 inch diameter. Can anyone tell anything about it?
May 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm #16968
Does a magnet stick anywhere to it, Kellianne?
You have a very intriguing piece, one I haven’t seen before.
I’ll check my references and let you know if I find anything!
May 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm #16969
Yes a magnet sticks to it everywhere.
May 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm #16970
Sorry, not ignoring you. Just had some network issues last night. Spent time researching and responding only to have it all lost on the ‘send’ button press.
Will try and remember all I said.
The sticking magnet means that it is iron. Only you can tell if it’s plated with brass or just painted. Iron, I find, is typically American in manufacture for smaller bells. (Nothing is exclusive though!)
The hair and clothing style of the figure is typical of that of an American/British male of the Mid 1800’s to early 1900’s. No hat usually indicates a youth (vs a grown man, who are usually shown wearing hats). The American Congress passed a tariff act in 1860’s ish requiring the country of origin be stamped on all imports. In about 1912 ish (as I recall) they modified it to include the words “made in” to be added to the stamp (but many importers didn’t do that). Of course these rules did not apply to items manufactured for domestic sale, which I believe your bell is.
I have also been trying to put together a bit of a time line of different types of hand bell clappers used over time. The bar style of yours is typical of bells from prior to the mid 1900’s (but there is a lot of variation, remember!) but the way it is attached to the roof of the bell is typical of the mid 1900’s. So that also fits with the age I am suggesting for your bell.
From the wear and style, iron metal content, and lack of markings, I think you have an American souvenir type bell. it looks to me like your bell representing a stable hand or night watchman or deck sailor boy, that kind of thing. Likely sold at a ‘living’ museum like an old fort, sailing ship on display type location or to represent a story book figure from a book or story I am not aware of. I strongly suspect it’s a character from a specific American history occurrence though, as the figure is one I have seen somewhere before. Not being of/from the USA myself, I don’t recognize it at this time if that’s the case. It does, however, ring a faint bell in the back of my mind. (Yes, that’s a pun!)
I suspect the age of the bell itself is from the mid 1900’s so I place it about 1950-60s ish which is about the time that it was common, unfortunately, to spray everything and their dog with gold radiator paint. It would be useful to look closely to see if that is what’s on your bell.
This is all a deduction though, I have not found a copy of the bell yet in my books. I’ll keep looking and let you know if I find anything. Do please remember it’s difficult to analyze a bell from a couple of photos, and little background history on it. Also I am still learning about all the different forms of bells from around the world, myself, and there are a lot of them! So this only represents a best guess from my current understanding and experience with what data I have from you to work with!
Enjoy it, it’s a great looking bell!
May 16, 2012 at 4:26 pm #16971
Thank you so much for the information Garry. I will ask my dad if he recognizes the figure and I will let you know if he comes up with anything
May 18, 2012 at 1:51 am #16972hjlong3Participant
These bells were cast and sold for the US Bicentennial in 1976. They usually were painted black and represent a colonial figure on the handle. They are cast steel and did not sell for a high price.
Harry Long, MD
May 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm #16967
I was hoping you would weigh in on this one.
Makes perfect sense and explains where I have seen the figure before, and why it’s in such good shape.
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