Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells U.S. Army (Cavalry) Camel Bell

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    • #11541

      A chapter contact received an inquiry which she forwarded to me:

      i am sending 5 pictures of a bell found by a gold prospector…description; 2 1/2 inches tall..3 3/4 inch across the bottom…2 inches across at top..weighs 1.25 lbs..may be silver???.found out in the OREGON desert., laying on its side, on about a 20 foot slab of volcanic rock… he wants to know anything about it…whatever someone knows, or thinks they know….

    • #15960

      Hello, I’m not near my copies of Mother’s books to look this up but if someone is I know she definitely described this bell. Alan Anthony

    • #15959

      per Alan Anthony’s advice; I have looked at Dorothy MAnthony’s book, THE WORLD OF BELLS, pg.6 Belling the Animals, were she does indeed show this bell. Her description is: “Civil War mule bell, 3 3/4″h, 3 3/4″d, bronze. Just before the outbreak of the Civil War, camels were brought over from Turkey to aid migrants through the S.W. desert. When the native drivers were sent home, our cavalry men could not cope with them so Operstion Camel was not a success. Bells were used with the sun-burst eagle and traditional olive branch. This size was for mules with the camel bell slightly larger and with a star on top. Excellent tone.”

      to my knowledge the 1850’s bells under the direction of Sec of State Jefferson Davis were made by the Starr Brothers Bell Co. of Connecticut. In the late 1920’s & early 1930’s Mrs. Forbes made a replica at her CA Bell Co. in a larger size 4 1/2″ x 4 3/4″ with the 5 point star on top. Either bell would be a nice collectors item but if truly one of the U.S. Army bells then is should have a greater value.

      Ardis Copple of the MN Chapter ABA group

    • #15961

      This bell looks like a recent reproduction. The reason being the shallow bas relief suggests that an older bell was used as apattern for the mold. The bell is thinner than many of the older bells that I have seen. The clapper is very typical of those used by bell makers of the 1940s-1960s. The crown has rough grinding and not the usual star of the older bells. I may be wrong, but I would estimate that this bell is only about 50-60 years old.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #15962

      Looks like the star has been ground off and gives the illusion that the handle is much higher than it should be. If you go to Bell Talk Jan 2005 there is a good deal of information, go to topic view, Camel Bell, Star Bros. When looking at these type bells note the shape of the handles and the attachment point of the clappers, also note the detail and finish. The US Army History Museum and the California Park Interpreter state, “ There was never an official U.S. Camel Corps.” I have never put much time on this subject, but I doubt if the camels ever had this type of bell around their necks. IF, this style of bell was purchased for the “Camels” there should be some sort of paper work from the foundry and official Army purchase order. Also perhaps some type of specification, concerning size, weight, design etc. A question presents itself, did these camels need a bell?, they were in a confined area or out with the troops at all times, not wandering around the country side. During the seven years in the Saudi, Kuwait, and Jordan desert, only the free roaming animals got bells, ( now GPS implant trackers), most of the time they were in fenced in areas, they were very valuable and are stolen if freely roamed. How these bells got to be called camel bells I don’t think anyone knows for sure. Max

    • #15963
      Carolyn Whitlock

      Here are some pictures of my U.S. Army Camel bells. Two show the star on top and the other two show different clappers.

      This picture shows the star on the top of the bell. Notice that it is big.

      This picture shows a slightly different angle.

      Clapper of newer looking bell but notice the great wear line that the clapper has worn into the bell.

      This picture shows an older looking bell that has a rougher interior and a different style of clapper. This clapper has a leather cord attached to it. This does not look like an original clapper. Also, notice the lack of a clear wear line.

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