need history of orange desk bell
December 18, 2008 at 4:55 am #11020
Extremely curious of the history of my vintage orange metal desk bell. I saw a twin in a local antique shop. What’s the significance of the orange color and what year were these made? Thanks!
December 18, 2008 at 1:32 pm #14276GarryParticipant
Actually, we need a bit more to go on than just the color.
Do you have a photo or two you can post?
What are it’s vital stats? (size, design, markings, type of metal, etc.)
This gives us an idea of maker / country / timeframe etc.
At a guess, with just the two bits of data you provided “desk bell” and “orange” you are probably looking at a hotel bell marked with it’s colors. But that’s only a wild guess from what details you provided. Likely it’s the bell hops desk bell.
December 18, 2008 at 10:23 pm #14277
Sorry about no picture…is attached now. Yes, it’s some type of desk (hop) bell, and I’m wondering why the orange color because I now discovered another in an antique shop (I thought I had the only one and thought it was painted by my mother, but apparently not) and in what setting might it have been used in, and when. Thanks!
December 19, 2008 at 2:30 pm #14278GarryParticipant
It looks to me like a standard desk bell from the mid to late 1900’s. They are, as you probably know, usually left in their base metal colors of brass or chrome. The interior photo appears to indicate that it is probably ferrous metal construction. ( You can test it by seeing if a magnet would stick.) This is a less expensive metal than brass, and would suggest to me a time period of about 1940’s (metals, especially brass, were in short supply during the war years!).
The paint is likely in place for one or both of two reasons: a) to protect the metal from the effects of rust. b) to fancy it up a bit since it isn’t brass. It does appear to be applied by the manufacturer during the construction process.
I have seen other bells of this nature, but not normally monochrome like this one. They usually have a pattern in different colors painted on them. That suggests that this bell is probably for a more utilitarian purpose rather than out where it would be displayed. Something like a restaurant ‘order up’ type bell or a behind a bell hop’s desk where the public wouldn’t see it. The ones I saw were from the 1960’s.
Hopefully this helps and that other members here might be able to provide more specific details.
As a side note; I do vaguely recall that there was a major company in that era (70’s/80’s) who’s primary trademark color was this shade of Orange. I am speculating, but it might have something to do with them. I was pretty young back then so I really don’t remember who it was, off hand, sorry.
December 21, 2008 at 8:40 pm #14279
The 1960’s-70’s makes sense. You’re correct, I checked and it’s not brass. Thanks so much for the detailed feedback!
December 22, 2008 at 7:10 pm #14280beausoneParticipant
I have one of these in my collection that I inherited from my Mother who lived in Akron, OH. She died in 1986, but she didn’t start collecting bells until sometime in the 60’s. I don’t know where she acquired it. She did work as a cook in small restaurants throughout her life, and she may have used it then. I don’t really know for sure.
December 22, 2008 at 8:09 pm #14281hjlongMember
Many of these steel tap bells were mass produced by the Bevin Brothers Bell Manufacturing Co. of East Hampton, CT. The pressed steel bells were made to sell at a low price. Some had a brass gong on the steel base and were a bit more expensive. These were used by school teachers, hotels, and businesses where you needed to raise the attention of someone who was away from the desk. The paint was probably applied to make the bell more attractive to the purchaser.
Harry Long, MD
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