What kind of bell is this?
December 1, 2015 at 1:56 am #23946
I received this bell from my brother in law. He bought it out of a storage locker so we have no idea where it came from. If anyone has any information on where it might have been used and how old it is I would appreciate it. It is fairly heavy and a strong magnet will not stick. You can feel some pull but it slides off. It measures 6 1/2 inches tall and the diameter of the bottom is 5 1/2 inches.
December 1, 2015 at 2:14 am #23947Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
Could you please send us a picture of the inside of the bell? The clapper is intriguing!
You can’t edit the posting that you have put above but you can put the picture of the inside in another posting.
December 1, 2015 at 2:52 am #23952
December 1, 2015 at 7:09 pm #23953
December 9, 2015 at 10:40 am #23979
I don’t recognize the specific decorative motif but I believe you have a ship’s bell I suspect of Asiatic / Indian origins. It is more ornate than most I have seen, a close up of some of the symbols might help (the stars or flowers? and it look like some sort of animal?). Sorry the images are small on my screen so I don’t see them very well.
The higher quality brass (with less iron, as brass doesn’t rust in wet environments such as on a ship) indicates the marine usage. (that’s from your magnet test. you may get a different result from the clapper hanger though!)
Likely from a mid sized sailing vessel, it most likely would have been mounted on an arm, bolted through the hole on the top rather than on a ring and rope (that was likely added later for personal display purposes). The clapper ring at the bottom indicates a hand rung bell. A rope would be attached to the bottom via a removable link.
I am adding a photo of a mini version of the bell type I have (North American and a smaller vessel type so it’s not as ornate!) that has a fancy ringer rope for decorative purposes. But it does show how it attaches. The bell would be rung by someone swinging the rope back and forth, of course, as opposed to a mechanical swinging of the bell instead.
The next photo shows a typical bracket. Although sometimes a second removable link at the top would be used to hang it, but most bells hung that way are of the Crown top type, not the Tang top like you have. That’s likely because they can be tied by rope tightly to the mounting rail. I believe the reason is to stop the bell from swinging too much in the waves and wind, giving false signals.
The third photo shows it in use.
This bell type would be used for signalling alerts/emergencies as well as time/changes of the watch.
You might check with your brother to see if there was anything else in the locker that might hint to it’s origins as well. For example if there were a lot of Chinese memorabilia…
I’ll keep my eyes open for the design work on other bells. That could help narrow down where it was made.
Hope this helps!
- This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by Garry.
July 2, 2018 at 10:07 pm #26946
December 9, 2015 at 11:20 am #23998
December 11, 2015 at 4:31 pm #24037
Looks like the photos were fixed and the threads for e-mail contact were removed.
To make it more complete, I am adding the gist of the e-mail back and forth that was done.
Yes, that does look very Chinese in design, I have seen the flowers before on such items. I am hedging my bets only because on most such items a dragon often appears ‘for good luck’ in China. But the flowers shown are typical of the designs from that area.
I am Including the photos I mention here, along with a couple extra (the website only allows 3 photos at a time so I didn’t do them there!).
ShipBell is the one I have, showing the mounting link. Or it could simply be hand tied around the ring of the clapper too, as was sometimes done.
Bell Mount is the one showing the mounting to the ship, that I mentioned. If there is a second hole in the tang, usually a stabilizer is added. (such as in the ‘tang bell with stand off’ photo).
Bell crown is an example of the crown type mount, to compare with your tang mount style. Just so you know what I am talking about.
and the Crown tied is a stylized drawing of how the crown mount is attached (showing only one crown loop for a less involved drawing!).
I think you are looking at a medium sized sailing vessel as smaller ones didn’t have bells and bigger ones had much bigger bells to carry sound farther. Likely from the 1800’s, early 1900’s.
You have a very nice find there! Hope you enjoy it!
In a later reply I added:
Picking up some parts would add to the value and make it more displayable. A hint: often it’s easier to buy a ‘new’ item and strip it for parts than buying the individual pieces. For example: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/SHIPS-BELL-Authentic-Models-AC073-6-Solid-Brass-w-Hand-Knotted-Lanyard-Used-/111840874611?hash=item1a0a3c5073:g:xx0AAOSw~bFWPson
and you get a bracket AND a lanyard ringer! Just a thought. (and -no- that’s not me selling it! <grin>)
But put a small book with it listing where the bell was purchased, what details you found on it, and what parts were replaced. Getting history for a piece can easily double or better the value! I would add the fact that other Chinese items were found in proximity to it as well. Add to the book as you find out more about it. Put your brother’s name and yours on a time line in the book, as well as the next person you give it to – again build a history for it. The more you do, the more interesting the bell becomes.
If you have the time, what I would do is picture searches for stylized flower drawings / molds etc. paisley bells, that sort of thing. As many ideas as you can to see if you can find similar patterns.
Christine found a Christmas ornament that was similar:
This is going to sound crazy.. but u found a design similar to this one.. number is on a reproduction of a bell sold as a Christmas bell. I am going to include a link so you can see what I’m talking about
December 11, 2015 at 4:36 pm #24038
I also gave her 3 other photos.
One showing various bell pulls / ringers for the bottom.
One showing the Crown type top (vs the Tang top she has).
One drawing of how the crown top attaches (but only has one loop shown for clarity).
I also mentioned that, if the Tang top had another smaller hole, that was for a stand off bar to stabilize the bell further.
I will attach the photos mentioned below, hopefully they show up, I see that the format to add things has changed a bit.
July 3, 2018 at 12:47 pm #26947
It’s not overly unusual to find similar ornate designs copied into things like Christmas bells. The garland bell you found is from china, which fits with the thoughts I had of the design motif. Likely they are good luck symbols, so would fit with a number of uses, including things like a small ship’s bell, household bell, and so on.
I don’t seem to find any interior bell shots in your photos but it looks like they have been working on the website so maybe those were lost?
I haven’t forgotten but haven’t found anything new yet.
July 3, 2018 at 1:14 pm #26948
July 3, 2018 at 1:28 pm #26950
July 3, 2018 at 1:34 pm #26955
July 3, 2018 at 2:07 pm #26956
July 4, 2018 at 11:34 am #26957
July 4, 2018 at 1:58 pm #26963
I still only see the original two photos. Perhaps, if you wish, you can send the others to a temporary e-mail address: email@example.com and I will see if I can post them for you.
Or contact the website administrator and they can do it!
July 4, 2018 at 2:54 pm #26967
It shows quite a bit of wear, both from ringing and from rubbing against something on the bottom. It’s a well formed clapper with an iron hanger. The bottom loop shows it was a hung bell but rung by a lanyard attached to the bottom so that the clapper was pulled to the side to ring. Notice also that the wear mark, where the clapper strikes the bell, is all the way around the skirt. This indicates that the bell was hung from the ring and probably another rope from something so that the bell could be in any orientation when rung. The other type of hanger for this type of bell is a bracket that holds the bell out and is attached through the tang on the top with a bolt. This keeps the bell from swinging in the wind or other motions (such as a boat on waves) and thereby reduces accidental ringing. Had it been that type of mount, the wear patterns would be predominantly in two spots opposite to each other. (People tend to grab the lanyard and do a back and forth method of ringing!)
I suggest that this indicates a bell that was used in a residence or temple of some sort where it was hung mostly protected from wind and shaking.
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