Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells peddler’s wagon bells

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    • #10780
      mee
      Participant

      wrought iron-wall mount ten inch bell wheel-12 brass bells. Detatchable iron handle spins wheel. Did peddlers use these kind of bells to draw attention? What is their value? Condition excellent.

    • #13503
      hjlong
      Member

      A picture would be helpful. What you are describing, however, is not a peddler’s bell. What you describe sounds like a bell wheel or a Mexican Prayer Wheel. These are sold as souvenirs. An original can be seen at the Mission San Juan Capistrano in California. These apparently had numerous functions, but were used in the Spanish Missions of Mexico and California. Some had a wooden wagon wheel with open throated bells attached and others had a steel wheel with open throated bells attached.

      Peddlers used a hand bell similar to a Town Crier Bell and the cadence that they generated informed servants and home owners which peddler was coming down the street (scissor grinder, milk man, produce peddler, etc.).
      Harry Long, MD

    • #13504
      Kallie Bell Gal
      Participant

      I hate to jump in on your conversation, but this is a topic that whets my interest. Is the “peddler’s bell” you are describing, Dr. Long, the double muffin type that some call a fire/alarm bell? I can remember when I was young, the street sellers often affixed almost any type of bell to their carts to attract attention. I wasn’t savy enough to recognize that different sellers would sound different, but my mother always seemed to know who was coming down the lane.

      As to the wheel of bells, I have long wondered if there really was a purpose for them. I always kinda assumed that they were “garden bells.” (That may be my terminology for a bell I like, that really has no purpose, so it can go in the garden.)

      Sam

    • #13502
      hjlong
      Member

      Sam,
      My Gradfather, J. Oliver Elliott, drove his father’s milk wagon as a youth and he could ring the milkman’s cadence with a handbell. He also knew the cadence for the scissor grinder and fruit peddler as well. Unfortunately, I did not learn the cadence from him. I suppose that in each community, peddlers used different types of communication to let homewners know when they were in the neighborhood and bells were a common form of communication. Today we only have the ice cream truck with its electronic recorded bell music.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #13505
      maxkurillo
      Participant

      Hi Mee and friends, I have to ring in on this. We have one quite like you describe on our front porch. Yes they are Prayer Wheels. We dont know haw long they have been in existance but some of the old churchs in Spain and South America still use them. Out here in CA they can be found at some of the missions. These are large 18 inch hand carved wooden whells with bells that look like white bronze. See The Bell Tower January-February 2008, the Bell Wheel of Mission San Juan Capistrano, if your not a member of ABA you are missing a lot of valuable information. We are developing a series of articles for the Bell Tower on these mission bell wheels. There are a few small 12 inch wooden bell whells, very nicely made, that still exist in collections they are worth $2,000 or more. Yours and ours are worth just what we paid for them, lets enjoy them. 😆

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