Viewing 9 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #11027
      Carol Choate
      Participant

      I have a question about some sleigh bells that I have acquired. A little history about them: My band instructor in high school owned these bells and I played them as a talent presentation in many competitions. That was in the 1960’s. Last year I bought the bells from him. The bells are strings of sleigh bells that hang on a stand. They make up the octave of a piano (both flats and sharps). There are 30 straps of bells with over 400 bells in all. You play them by shaking the bells. They have a beautiful sound. They are the old shank type bells in various sizes and are attached to the straps with cotter pins. I want to have them restored. I still play them although the only melody I play well on them is the “Bells of St. Mary”. I have never seen bells like this and I looked and googled and researched articles. I thought perhaps through this forum, someone might be able to tell me about them and suggest where I may be able to restore them. I have not taken pictures of them but if it is possible for me to send a picture I would like to do that. Thank you for any help you might provide me.
      Sincerely,
      Carol Choate

    • #14318
      hjlong
      Member

      I do not think that these were commercially made for music, but rather was probably assembled from available bells by a musician for a unique musical instrument. For excellent restoration, you may wish to look at http://www.classicbells.com . Depending on the number of bells and number of strings, this could be a bit pricey.
      HJLong, MD

    • #14319
      Carol Choate
      Participant

      THanks for the prompt reply. I believe that these were made for the purpose of playing because the leather straps are different lengths and the bells are different sizes so as to produce notes (middle C and on up the scale). I know it would be extremely pricey to restore and perhaps I can do this a little at a time. Thanks you for the online resource.
      Carol

    • #14320
      Diane
      Member

      Hi Carol, Just to let you know, a friend of mine – an LA Percussionist – had special bell straps and bell types made to order a few times. Not sure who he used but the the following web site might be just what you are looking for. Looks like you can write to them via email and see what can be done. Best of luck!

      http://classicbells.com/custService/contact.html

      When you are ready maybe you can give an ABA chapter near you a small demonstration or concert 🙂

      Diane

    • #14321
      Carol Choate
      Participant

      Thanks Diane. I don’t think anyone would like to hear me “ring those bells” but I would like to show them to bell enthusiusts. They are unusual and when I get them restored they will be beautiful. Thanks for the information.
      Carol

    • #14322
      Carolyn Whitlock
      Participant

      Dear Carol,

      I am curious to know what you mean when you say you want to get these bells restored. Does that mean you want to have them put on new leather? Or do you want the bells polished (which is not necessarily advised)? Are some of the bells damaged? We have an ABA and New England Chapter member who re-straps bells. She does beautiful leather work. You can see some samples at http://dlpleather.com/

      As you can imagine, bell collectors tend to be musical and we have had some very creative performances of music played on all sorts of percussion instruments not commonly known to mankind! Many years ago, my mother and I entertained “the troops” at a bell convention by her playing Leroy Anderson’s “Syncopated Clock” on tap bells while I provided the tick-tock of the clock with a wooden water buffalo bell! Oh, what fun it is to play a different bell each day!

      Carolyn

    • #14323
      Carol Choate
      Participant

      Carolyn,
      I am glad to get the information about restoration. Yes, the leather needs to be restored. The straps are still pliable but a little brittle with some straps that have been broken and repaired. The bells are in excellent condition . They are silver in color and I do not know the metal. I don’t know if the bells are nickel or pewter but they are that color. They are shank bells so I think they are old and they are attached witih a figure 8 pin. My husband polished a few of them or rather cleaned them with a cleaner (I don’t know what). I will check out the website you sent.
      Your story about entertaining the troops with your mother is wonderful. We have a son-in-law who is a Marine Harrier pilot in North Carolina. It means a lot to have people who care to help them through rough times. Thanks.
      Carol

    • #14324
      Peter Hyde
      Member

      Carol

      This is such an interesting thread! It would be great to see some photos of these bells as they are now. Can you post some here?

    • #14325
      Carol Choate
      Participant

      Yes, I am trying to find time to get the bells put up on the stand and get a picture. I am excited to see what people that know about sleigh bells think. In a few days I will have my Christmas decorations put away and I can put my bells up. Please stay tuned; I will get a picture posted soon:)

    • #14326
      tibyes
      Participant

      The set of tuned sleigh bells that I have were assembled by the J C Deagan Co. EAch strap is stamped with J C Deagan on the bottom of the strap and the note is stamped on the top under the buckle.The bells are croatal sleigh bells in graduated sizes with 12 bells on the A# strap and 6 on the G.The J C Deagan Co. was in Chicago in 1900 and has pictures of some bell chimes on Google. The Company was later sold or became Conn.
      The straps are in good condition- only 2 cotter ppins are missing that hold the bells on the sttraps. I have used a leather cleaning and softening oil on the straps a couple of times since I acquired them.

Viewing 9 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.