Old brass christmas bell?
June 1, 2009 at 11:25 pm #11147
Just picked up this old christmas brass bell measuring 145mm high and 80mm wide, the handle looks to be some kind of owl? with its wings spread.
Around the bell there are people, animals (Goose, Dog or a cat) and christmas trees along with what appears to be garlands.
Its made from solid brass and looks to be a single cast item as there are no seams showing, it also has a bit of patana starting to show.
Dont know anything about its history or maker, do you have any info?
have also included some web cam pics so they not the best pictures.
June 11, 2009 at 2:37 am #14682hjlong3Participant
This could be a variant of the “Evangelist Bell”. The character on the handle appears to be a Gryphon, a mythical beast with the body of a Lion and the Wings of an Eagle. The arms of the Gryphon have the talons of the Eagle and the hind legs of the lion. In Christian Symbology, it has been used to represent Jesus as part God and part Man. The characters around the skirt appear reminiscent of the symbols of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The hanging garlands are probably just for decoration and do not represent Christmas. What do you think?
Harry Long, MD
June 11, 2009 at 1:25 pm #14675
I tend to agree with Harry.
The swag decoration was fairly common for quite a while. The encyclopedia Britannica puts it this way: “Garlands have been a part of religious ritual and tradition from ancient times” And goes on to mention it seen even in Egyptian hieroglyphs.
If you can get a better set of close up photos of the images around the bell and the figure on top, it would help. But I suspect that Harry has it pinned down pretty closely.
June 15, 2009 at 8:34 pm #14676
I agree with you that the wreaths were a usual addition to older bells, but this has a Christmas feel about it, have included better photos this time
June 15, 2009 at 8:40 pm #14677
More pics including the back of the “bird” as it has a birds back not an animal. That said it appears to have some kind of horn or tuft on the back of its head
June 16, 2009 at 1:39 pm #14678
I am wondering if this isn’t a hand bell for a church of “John the Evangelist”. I’d write one of these churches to get an opinion there.
The Eagle is his symbol.
I suspect the bell portion is a symbolism of a wolf (evil?) Sheep and goose (people) and man (John) as he spent his long life preaching the word of the lord.
I am thinking it’s a decorative bell from one of those churches.
Just a thought, but some quick searches on the internet haven’t shown up any inconsistencies yet.
June 19, 2009 at 11:47 pm #14679
Thanks for your insight, I will post some more photos, I think the bells age is circa 1800s and it might be of dutch origin? I am thinking on the style of hat and dress one of the individuals is wearing.
June 19, 2009 at 11:53 pm #14680
Some more pics
June 22, 2009 at 6:09 pm #14681
I don’t know, If you look at your 3rd last photo and compare it to the image I found on the internet.
Given that cast brass wears over time and, unless very special care is taken, doesn’t hold a pattern well, I think it’s a close match.
Then looking at all the symbolism of what appears to be a lion and a sheep and a wolf and a lamb – all used in biblical references.
Follow that with the eagle being John’s symbol…
I could not find a photo of an older dutch hat that seemed to fit – only modern ones.
Have a look and see what you think!
June 24, 2009 at 9:35 pm #14683
I have spent many years picking up unusual bits and pieces from auctions, garage sales and car boot sales and get a lot of pleasure finding out more about them before I sell them on.
Having picked up several hand bells over the years they were always easy to identify as the would have the old Triangular identification stamp on them or a makers mark.
Uptill now the oldest bell i have had was 1861, but I genuinely think this one pre-dates it.
Now that I have came across this bell forum I will keep poping in from time to time and if I come across any other bells I will post some pictures for the members.
I would like to thank you and Harry for your insight into this particular bell and I hope you got some pleasure from seeing what I think quite an unusual bell.
June 29, 2009 at 1:17 pm #14684
No problems! I know Harry and I both enjoy looking at other’s bells as well as helping identify them.
I would not be surprised that this one is quite old either.
Hopefully we will see more of your collection here in the future too!
July 8, 2009 at 8:43 pm #14685maxkurilloParticipant
Hi David and my fellow bellers,
I have been looking at this bell for some time and have questions, that may or may not assist in identification. David, take a very good look inside where the clapper arm(s) is attached to the bell there is a loop, is the loop cast into the bell, like an upside down “U”, or is it like a screw-eye, the shape of a “O”. is it (loop) centered or to one side. As I see in the picture the clapper arm is jointed, can you measure the lenght of each section, the lower section will be from the joint to the bottom of the ball. Now measure the dia of the ball, you can scrach the ball and determine, if it’s lead, steel, etc. How is the lower clapper wire attached to the ball, cast into the ball, or clipped on like a fishing weight, if the ball is cast there should be mold seam marks. Can you explain what is around the clapper assembly, measure it, what is it made of , how is it attached to the ball. Now for the outside. Take a good look at the bird assembly on top, It looks like there might be a seam between this top and the bell body, clean this seam out and see what you can find, perhaps the bird was attached rather than cast with the bell, (that’s assuming the bell was cast). I leave you to your work , lookng forward to some good data, Max
July 10, 2009 at 9:53 pm #14686
On inspection of the Loop it looks like a piece of brass wire (centre loop) that has been inserted in to the bell, then a piece of what looks to be steel wire attaching the clapper.
The clapper is made of brass and is about 42mm long.
On closer inspection the bell would appear to be cast in one piece as one of the wings continues on to the bell casing with no joints.
I have also attached more photos of inside the bell.
July 12, 2009 at 3:38 pm #14687maxkurilloParticipant
David, Good pictures i’m sure many of us are looking at them. One thing for sure this is probably not the original clapper. The original clapper was one piece with a ball on the end to hit the bell. The little loop that is up inside the bell ( that the clapper assembly is attached to ) seems to be twisted, can not tell if it is like a regular screw eye or if it really has two pieces cast into the bell. It is my guess that this loop is original, only because I cannot see any place that shows broken loops, but a lot of force has been put to it to get it twisted. In the first picture the wire to the left, above the bar looks like lettering, or just marks?. The question might be presented why was this bell refitted with this makeshift clapper assembly? everyone can ring in on this one. Was it for sales appeal, or just to have a bell that rang. this is a crude clapper assembly for any bell. If this was truly a valuable bell then more care should have been given to the clapper assy. David I think you have a nice bell that can be cleaned and polished and you will have an excellent conversation bell. As far as it age my guess not more than 50 years but I have have wrong. Max
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