Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Bell Foundries, Manufacturers and Artisans N. N. Hill documents at two libraries a continent apart

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    • #10865
      Robert Watrous

      One of the ABA members asked me how I found the N. N. Hill records out in California. I found out about the archive at the University of California, Davidson Library years ago from a fellow toy collector and researcher interested in the trade associations of the early 1900s. N. N. Hill and quite a few other toy makers were part of the National Novelty Corporation and later the Hardware and Woodenware Manufacturers which he was researching. I have no idea how or why these papers found their way to California. Being from New Jersey it’s a long way to go see what they have, but I have family in Santa Barbara California, and now I have a good excuse to visit! Note: The collection is stored elsewhere, not at the library in Goleta. Make arrangements in advance if you are interested in seeing it.

      Here’s the web site for the Davidson Library: http://www.library.ucsb.edu/speccoll/history_scitech.html

      Here’s just a little from the web site:
      N. N. Hill Brass Company Records, ca. 1890s – early 1900s. 25 letter books and one ledger of the N. N. Hill Brass Company of Middleton, CT, which manufactured tea bells, electric gongs, trinity chimes, telephone chime boxes, bicycle bells, and sleight bells. In the 1930s, the company received the Walt Disney toy contract, which became a major portion of their business. Product lines included bell-ringing pull toys and toy telephones with Disney characters. (Mss 47).

      The collection of N. N. Hill papers in Connecticut at the Connecticut Historical Society Library I found doing a Google search. It comes up when searching for Gong Bell. The librarian thinks it is because some of the letters are from N. N. Hill to Gong Bell. One should call ahead to arrange to see this collection. It is not yet catalogued.

      Here’s a link to their site:

      Here’s a little from their site:
      Gong Bell Company
      One of three firms manufacturing bells in the East Hampton, Connecticut, area in the late-19th and early 20th centuries. Together, these three firms supplied practically all bells for any purpose in the nation.
      (54 linear feet)

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