February 10, 2012 at 10:48 pm #11996
Susan Toth of Bay City, MI is a retired school teacher and 25 years ago one of her students gave her a beautiful brass lighthouse bell that is 4 inches tall and weights approximately 11 ounces. Susan asks, “Can anyone tell me where or when this bell was made and is their any history available on this bell”.
February 10, 2012 at 10:52 pm #16848
February 11, 2012 at 11:45 pm #16849
If you want to e-mail me the photo, I’ll take a stab at getting it posted here for you if you like!
February 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm #16850
Here you go!
But this looks like a Dutch Windmill bell with the blades missing to me.
February 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm #16851
Have a look at this one.
February 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm #16852
My gosh! It does appear to be the Dutch windmill bell. Does anyone have any background or information on this?
February 13, 2012 at 4:52 pm #16853
I have actually been looking for how to date these too.
The design is quite popular and many forms are still being made in a number of countries today.
Taiwan produces a couple nice new (and similar) ones for example that you can get.
These bells generally only cost a modest amount and come in different materials from Brass to Silver Plate to Ceramics.
The only thing for the brass type history that I have been able to determine is to look at 3 points:
1. The thickness of the bell – Thicker ‘usually’ translates to older.
2. The attachment of the blades: a) the further the neck protrudes appears to be an older feature and b) (if not replaced) the screw head holding the blades to the bell has changed from a pin type to a flat hand made slot type to machined slot to Phillips head over time.
3. The blades themselves in that newer ones I seem to find are much more defined (crisper lines, more even / identical blades) than older ones (which are admittedly prone to damage – people will spin them!).
I have not been able to find a more definitive time frame / style yet – still looking – but the style you have do appear in various bell books as attributed from approximately the mid 1900’s.
Hopefully others may supply more details.
February 13, 2012 at 8:02 pm #16854halanbParticipant
The Windmill bells come in a variety of sizes, shapes and metals.
The silver bells range in height from 2″ – 3″.
The brass bells are 4.75″, 5″, and 9″ in height (not including the vanes).
The middle bell is marked OSTENDE (West Flanders, Belgium).
The vanes are attached with pins.
October 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm #16855beausoneParticipant
And yet another version… This one is 2×2.5, and it looks like the bar that holds the clapper is the post where the blades are attached. Notice the difference of design on blades and top of mill. This has ENGLAND stamped on back of one of the blades.[attachment=0:2vnbws83]E0083-2.JPG[/attachment:2vnbws83]
October 17, 2012 at 1:37 pm #16856
That’s a pretty little one!
I just purchased another myself, it’s similar to your first one, but has a brass flag mounted on the top.
I have been doing some research on the back-stampping (your ENGLAND stamp is a sample).
It can help date things approximately, if you remember that there are few hard and fast rules!
For the ‘Western” countries, the first real use appears to be in Britain in 1887 under the “Merchandise Act” to force the words “Made in Germany” on products from Germany. (As a side note, it’s interesting that this had the opposite effect than what was intended – People preferred the better quality German Merchandise which this made easier to find!)
For North America (the largest growing market at the time) the main key dates seem to be:
1890 the USA Tariff Act (aka McKinley Act) required the country of origin (i.e. ENGLAND) to be marked so that it could be taxed with import duties.
During the Depression (and I have not found a consistent date for this so it’s the 1930’s ish) the word “MADE IN” were to be added so that US jobs could be protected by showing where the majority of the product’s construction (therefore the work force making it) took place.
Between 1891 – 1921 Japanese items were marked NIPPON (land of the rising sun) which was the closest approximation of the Japanese characters they used.
After 1921 the USA Tariff act was modified to use the westernized name “JAPAN”.
Between 1947 and 1952 – the marks were to be “Occupied Japan” (obvious reasons)
And the advent of using paper labels came to be about 1952 as well.
So your ENGLAND mark suggests that the bell was made between 1890 and the mid 1930’s. But again, there is no real hard and fast rule, this is only a suggestion from the above information. Other hints are to look for paper labels, Thickness and quality of the Brass, other marks (such as “Peerage”), and quality of the pour.
Further, recognize that bells of all sizes, as well as the names of the makers, have been knocked off by counterfeiters for centuries. The small Hemony bells are a good example of that (dates don’t match when the Hemony brothers lived), as well as the Mexican Monistary/Mission bells (if there were as many Monistaries as there are bells for them, you wouldn’t have any other type of building in that whole country!).
One further thing to keep in mind: these rules really only applied to items Made for Export. If the manufacturer did not intend to export the item (domestic sale only) then all bets are off!
A really good site to look at for the back-stamps is:
October 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm #16857beausoneParticipant
Thank you for the history lesson. 🙂 I am trying to incorporate information such as this into my inventory list. I think it will be more interesting for my children when they inherit the collection. I just wish that I had added more info when I first bought each bell, but the internet certainly makes it easier to do the research now.
This bell weighs 5.1oz which I think is significant for its size. I have another that is the same size, but it is in storage. The top looks the same, but the design on the blades is squares. When I cataloged it, I don’t think I checked the blades for identification because I have it listed as “unknown” origin.
Thanks again, Ailene
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