Liz in New South Wales, Australia, asks:
Here is a photo of a bell I bought – the previous owner thinks it was a Barton Bell from Connecticut. They think it was from the mid to late 1800s. I can’t see any identifying marks except for the scalloping design on the bell. Could you help me get it identified. Many thanks Liz from Australia.
If you can help, please post a response.
This inquiry was originally sent to the ABA’s Internet Coordinator. Responses are opinions of individuals based on their personal research and knowledge.
This is a petal design crotal bell that dates from the early 1800s. Barton Bells came later and often have a # for the size of the bell or the familiar HB for Hiram Barton. This bell appears to be an English horse bell from the late 1700s or early 1800s. You may want to look at http://www.classicbells.com for a photographic history of sleigh bells.
Harry Long, MD
It is very difficult to tell the makers of the various crotals unless they are initialed. Some of the American makers’ initials are: W/B,H/B,W.E.B.,H/S,S/N and quite a few more. A lot of the info is conjecture as so much has been lost over the years. It is thought that the space between the petals would be an older bell then a crotal that the petals touch. Also a crotal with two core holes (on the tang side)would be thought to be older then a crotal with four core holes. And then you can get into the British crotals and that is a “science” in itself. There were many British crotal makers(over 40 listed, and some still unknown initials). To me, your crotal looks to be unearthed at sometime, but that does not date it