Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells So, what is that thing? (Parts 1-7 & 8)

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    • #11828

      (Part 1) – Vielle à Roue

      I have had these two figurine bells for a number of years, one in silver (probably .800 or .840) and one in bronze, neither marked, 4 in (10 cm). I was told that she is holding a musical instrument called a Vielle à Roue, which meant nothing to me. Now, thanks to the following video, I know what it is and how it is operated. The instrument is also called a Hurdy Gurdy (Eng), Zanfona (Sp), Ghironda (It), or Dhehleier (Ger).



    • #16522

      (Part 2) – Cleaning Lady Nodder

      Another two bells, nodders, that I have had for some years, one silver-plated and one bronze, 5 in (12.5 cm). In fact, the bronze version was the first antique nodder that I purchased. The object she is holding in her left hand was somewhat obscure, oval not rounded, but the bell is usually described as a cleaning lady inbibing in her master’s liquor. Upon closer inspection, it turns out that the object is an old style letter, a tri-folded sheet of paper with a wax seal, and the cleaning lady is spreading it open for a peek at its contents.


    • #16523

      Hi Alan,that is a very interesting information. I also had two of these bells in my collection. Actually I sold one last week in an Ebay auction for Euro 165.00. I always knew that the girl was playing some kind of a musical instrument but only through the details given in your actual post I really understood the meaning of it.

      The remaining bell in my possession is marked 800 with the German half moon and crown.


      By the way I have no idea how to include an Ebay link in this page as you do it so often. I would appreciate your help and advice on this.
      In such case I could include the bell I sold but you probably have seen that part of my recent activity anyhow.


    • #16524

      In Russian the instrument is called sharmanka. The stress is upon the 2nd syllable. It came to Russia at the beginning of the 19th century. It sometimes is used by street musicians here.

    • #16525

      Another version of the bell in Part 1.

      Glöckchen Tischglocke Klang 925 Silber/vergoldet Antiquitäten Handglocke Sammeln
      Ein attraktives Tischaccessoire aus 925 Silber.
      Die Glocke ist hochwertig verarbeitet und hat einen angenehmen Klang.
      Die praktischen Tischglocke für Haus, Gaststube oder Rezeption .
      Bitte achten Sie auf den Detailreichtum, die Qualität und Präzision der Werke.
      · Gestempelt: OAA 925
      · Höhe : 100 mm
      · Durchmesser unten: 49 mm
      · Gewicht : 108,7 Gr.

      925 Silver bell dinner bell / antique gold hand bell collection
      An attractive desk accessory made ​​of 925 silver.
      The bell is high quality and has a pleasant sound.
      The practical dinner bell for home, restaurant or reception.
      Please pay attention to detail, quality and precision of the works.
      · Marked: OAA 925
      · Height: 100 mm (4 in)
      · Diameter bottom: 49 mm (2 in)
      · Weight: 108.7 gr.

      Very attractive bell in gold and silver trim, the nicest I have seen.
      Yet, the asking price probably discouraged some bidders.



    • #16526

      Part 3 – RARE Vintage Bronze Figural Mechanical Tongue Laughing Man Flick Service Bell

      I believe the bulk of it is bronze with some other metal types inside. It takes 3 “AA” batteries – but there is no direction as to how to place the batteries. I did find the “AA” batteries date back to about 1947 – so we can assume this is no older than that. The back section screws off/on with ease. There is no major damage to any part of it – it just has some scuff marks from age. The bell does chime when you sit the figure down – but I do not know if it actually works properly with the batteries in it – I feel it may need some minor repairs. The bell should ring when the tongue is pressed down. There are no makers marks anywhere that I can find. The only text I found are numbers on the base of the mechanical device which reads “5754 V 48 ~”
      The dimensions are: 5 3/4″ tall x about 3 3/4″ wide and about 5″ deep.

      This bell was sold on eBay recently. I include it in this section because it is somewhat unusual.

      From the title and the first set of pictures it would seem to be of standard mechanical construction, operated by depressing the tongue. If a Flick type, then pressing and releasing the tongue would cause the bell to be struck one time. If a Windup type, then pressing the tongue would allow the bell to ring continuously.

      The description and the second set of pictures show that it battery-operated. I have never seen this type previously, though they may be better known to collectors who specialize in mechanical bells.



    • #16521

      Many viewers will be familiar with the Bermuda Bell, so called because it was often used on carriages in Bermuda. This is a double gong bell mounted under the floorboard and foot-activated by a plunger rod.
      They were first used on carriages, then early automobiles, and later were popular with hot rodders.

      They were in production by various makers from the 1880s to the 1950s. Both Bevin Bros. and Starr Bros. made early models, offered for sale and described in their catalogues as a foot gong bell around 1890. Many early models were nickel plated, and later models were chrome plated. Sutone Mfg. models from the 1950s are among the most commonly found. These bells are 5″ to 6″ in diameter, and often sell in the $150 range.

      Pic 1 shows an early Bevin bell with a cast top plate. This is a very unusual model in brass. Pic 2 shows how they were mounted. Pic 3 shows a later Bevin bell with stamped top plate. Both plates read:


      The Bermuda Bell was for a private conveyance, but there were much larger and heavier bells for a trolley, ambulance, or fire engine, often 10″ to 16″ in diameter. Some of them are of the foot gong type, and one of those is shown in Pics 4 & 5.

      This particular item uses a lever instead of a plunger rod. One stroke – one very loud ring.
      They are not often seen, but one was listed on eBay recently.



    • #16527

      EN METAL
      9.8 X 4.5 CM ENVIRON
      H 2.5 CM ENVIRON
      FONCTIONNE ???
      BON ETAT. Petites traces d’oxydations et le marteau de la clochette est cassé mais présent.

      APPROXIMATELY 9.8 X 4.5 cm (4 x 1.8 in)
      H 2.5 cm (1 in)
      GOOD CONDITION. Small traces of oxidation and the hammer of the bell is broken but present.

      A TACHOMETER is an instrument to measure revolutions per unit time, like on the dashboard of many cars.
      This appears to be a simple REV COUNTER to record the number of revolutions of a shaft.
      I would guess that the bell rings when the needle hits the little knob under the Zero.
      It may be possible to rotate the needle to a start position.
      Another use of a bell from a bygone era.

      (Thanks to robfromcanada for his comments.)



    • #16528


      A Pair of Sandows Patent Spring Grip Dumbbells
      Spring loaded with brass bell, adjustable strength, Circa 1910, 170 mm (6.8 in).

      Hand held adjustable grip testers or strength builders. Exceed the chosen setting and the bell rings.

      They were listed in an auction in South Africa last week. Auction results are not available,
      but apparently the pair sold in excess of US$ 50.

      You may remember larger models from penny arcades,



      or this one from a carnival (sometimes operator fixed so a younger brother could show up an older brother).



    • #16529

      Cloche a Fromage
      hauteur 17 cm, diametre 19 cm
      (6.8″ x 7.6″)

      Looks like a big fat ceramic lady bell, though missing a clapper.

      In French, cloche usually means a bell, though it is also used for any bell-shaped object.

      In this case it is a cover for cheese. Similar covers are found in glass, ceramic, or metal,
      and range in size from about 5″ for cheese or butter up to about 12″ for cake.

      The term is also used for a type of ladies’ hat. Early ones from the 1920s were often felt.
      Newer ones are often knit.


    • #16530

      (ON or ABOVE a YOKE)

      I came across a strange object on French eBay today that I had never before seen.

      Upon further investigation, I discovered a related article on French Wikipedia.
      I will try to provide a rough translation of part of that article.

      The surjoug is an object of turned wood, elongated, carved and hand-crafted form, usually 20″ – 35″ long, placed in the center and above the yoke . This is an antique, rare object, very important from Celtic times onward in the agricultural world of the past in the Toulouse Midi (Southwest France), and very little known. It has been found in other places, but this is where it has longest existed, and has seen the greatest stylistic evolution.

      The surjoug, placed on a central rod on the yoke, maintains balance, forcing cattle harnessed with a yoke to maintain position and improve productivity. This allows the yoke to remain vertical with the tensile force of the surjoug, and the head of the animal to remain in the position of a straight extension of the spine. This is probably an old “performance optimizer” with the animal suffering less and able to work longer and faster, thus the animal is preserved and agricultural production is enhanced. It is also a decorative object, showing the virtuosity of the maker and a source of pride to its owner. Originally, it had a more or less sacred function, related to protection and fertility. It is a musical object because it makes sounds, thanks to the bells located in a central cavity. The sounds are emitted when the cattle are moving. It beats the pitch (like a drum for troops). Each surjoug is unique, and makes a different sound, which makes them recognizable to a regular listener.

      There are stylistic differences between three regions of the Midi-Pyranees. The devices and decoration used date back to Celtic times, when many honored Ebona, the earth mother and fertility goddess. Some evolved into religious symbols during the Christian era. Usage continued until the early 20th century, but now they only used at festivals.


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