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Yes, it does look like Pădurea Neagră crystal. This is in Romania now, I think. It’s an area where the borders shifted around many times over the centuries.
Pădurea Neagră also makes some clear crystal bells with this finial with etched images. They are charming bells and don’t have the look and feel of “cheap” bells. Often the crystal near the bottom lip is quite delicate and thin. I don’t know if they pride themselves on this (it might be technologically more difficult). There’s an area of Ireland where they very much pride themselves on the lightness and thinness of their porcelain bells.
I love the “snail” finials on these. There were only a few bell makers who made snail finials.
I don’t know if they do this in Sweden, but bells with lanyards are commonly used as doorbells next to the front door in many places in the Netherlands. Lanyard bells are also used as ship bells. As was pointed out, the extra hole for a lanyard is uncommon in herd bells.
I think originally some of these bells may have been used as altar bells or for various ceremonies in a church environment.
Since that time, they have also been produced as souvenirs and for collectors.
Since metal bells are very durable, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference.
The older ones tend to be bronze rather than brass and to be somewhat heavier, but there are many variations, so a provenance always helps.
I have duplicates of many lady bells and while different clappers are often substituted by bell owners, often it’s a variation from the bell producer.
They change the clappers for a variety of reasons… they may sell more than they expected and need substitute clappers to keep the production run going, they may wish to reduce the weight slightly, they may have two production runs at different factories or different belt lines (I’ve seen dual production runs in ceramic bells, as well). The best way to know is to look at the age of the clapper and other bells of the same kind. With very old bells we may never know.
I think I have this bell. She’s tucked away somewhere, so I’ll have to search for her, but when she emerges, I’ll check the clapper and post a picture.
You should weigh it, and keep a record of the weight, width and height, and, as you posted here, the family history. This record, especially with older bells, sometimes adds to the value of the bell.
I’ve handled many of these Hemony and Serke bells and I’ve never seen this one. It’s wonderful and certainly uncommon.
The tradition of hanging small bells similar to these comes partly from market carts and partly from shop doors. Hanging a string of small bells on a herd animal, cart, or horse serves as a warning so pedestrians don’t get run over by the animal. The Sarna bells are a little bigger than bells that are typically used for this purpose, but they have been used on shop doors, where a string of bells, tied to the door handle, lets the shopkeeper know a customer has come in the door. Many Sarna bells were imported from India for bell collectors, as well.
They’re really amazing bells, quite substantial (two or three times the size of many lady bells) and very detailed, lots of character. The flocking adds a whole other dimension to the texture of the clothing.
The inside is “glazed” (I think it’s actually painted) in a buffy beige color, sometimes plain, sometimes speckled, and the good-sized clapper appears to be majolica (reddish clay, probably earthenware).
Good for you for finding a whole set. It’s not easy to assemble all of them since they’ve been out of production for three decades.
Joan, that’s great information. I hope Steve sees it.
I did some digging and found some more info.
The Hull Museums Collection apparently has two negatives of a vessel called Superman. If it’s the 1923 ST Superman, they have two images:
1. The Superman leading the Dunedin Star (a steam ship) – glass negative
2. The Superman (in addition to pictures of other boats and the Hull dock) – 35mm negative
It may be possible to get copies, Steve. You can look up the accession numbers and availability on their site.
P.S., I believe ST stands for “steam tug” but I’m not 100% sure since some naval acronyms mean more than one thing (e.g., “SS” has a variety of meanings, depending upon context and whether it’s commercial, military, British or American).
There was a Methodist church in Victoria, B.C. (I think it was on Quadra Street), near the old ice arena and sports field that was serving parishioners at least until the 1980s, I believe, and I never heard any mention of the United Church (and the sign on the church wasn’t changed), so there may have been Methodist churches operating independently after the date you mention, or at least keeping their image/signage/message as Methodist churches even if they were somehow associated with the United Church.
Now that I think of it, they called it the New Methodist church. Perhaps after the association with the United Church some of the Methodist churches opted to retain their identity as “new” Methodist rather than forming an association with the United Church. Unfortunately, it no longer operates as a church so it would be difficult to track down the ministers and ask but I think the suggestion that you write to the church in Nelson is a good one.
What a beautiful bell. Look at those pillars and faces, wonderful.
It’s from an area that is rich and diverse in its cultural history. Stettin (Szczecin) was converted to Christianity in the 12th century and has variously been settled (or ruled) by the Slavs, Danes, Germans, Swedes, and Poles. I discovered a little bit about it when I was researching Bohemian bells since the borders in that general region have changed much over the years and you can’t study Bohemian bell production without learning about surrounding areas (and import/export patterns).
The city would have been part of the German Empire (Prussian) at the time your bell was cast, hence the German script. Not long after it was cast, the area experienced great poverty and mass emigration. It’s amazing this bell survived the “meltdowns” (for ammunition and canon production) that plagued war-torn regions.
Here is the site of a bell founder in Poland. There are also some great historic pictures on the site. They might not know English, but you could try contacting them and see if they have any knowledge of historic bell founders such as C. Volz & Son. If they don’t know English, perhaps you could find someone on the Net who would be so kind as to translate your message to Polish. I bet this bell founder would be thrilled to see pictures of your bell:
I’m pretty sure it’s Fulper also. I’ve seen a couple of them in other colors, lavender and orange.
I haven’t seen one like this either.
I’m curious about the date.
If it’s a Swiss or Austrian bell, the date doesn’t suggest a particularly significant commemorative year. The formation of a Swiss republic didn’t happen until 22 years later.
The year matches the U.S. Declaration of Independence. It’s possible it’s a bell of Swiss origin that was made in 1976 to commemorate the American bicentennial. Many parts of Europe sold souvenirs, T-shirts, bells, and other items, in 1976 to celebrate American independence—possibly because they remember their own struggles for independence and also to keep in line with the American tourist trade.
The bell looks fairly old, but not super old. I would guess the number is a commemorative year rather than the year of founding.
It’s a nice bell. I like the little figure. The Swiss-style bells are good bells—sturdy, with good tone.
I would agree with Harry’s assessment as to materials, age, and probable origin. Bohemian glass, probably Czech, Austrian, or West German.
They’re nice bells, For the last 150 years, the Bohemian bells (along with Murano, with whom they’ve had a close association) have been consistently among the best crystal bells in the world.
At first I thought it might be Tibetan (they commonly use two forms of script) but when I looked at the bigger photo, it looked more like Sanskrit. In Sanskrit, it looks like va ma on the top left and I’m pretty sure that’s ja on the bottom left and middle left but many of the characters are worn and it’s hard to make them out to get full words. In Devanagari, the second from top left looks like po except that it’s missing a diacritical mark.
The combination of Sanskrit/Devanagari and English numbers on the bottom and English letters on the back to indicate style and/or size suggests it may have been mass-produced and designed for export. Mass-produced doesn’t necessarily mean machine-maid. In Asia, many mass-produced items are crafted by human hands.
As others mentioned, the bell may be Tibetan or Indian and looks fairly old, but probably dates from the the early or mid-20th century, so your Indian friend’s guess that “32” might be a year could be correct. It’s also possible that “32” was an indicator of the size of the bell or a specific model of bell.
How much does it weigh?
Does it still have the clapper?
Could you post a picture of the inside?
Looking closely at the picture, it appears that your bell might be chiseled rather than cast—look especially at the lines above the animal’s back.
It’s hard to tell from a picture, but if it’s chiseled, it’s one-of-a-kind, rather than mass-produced, and probably an older one rather than one of the more recent tourist varieties. It’s also of slightly different design than some of the newer tourist bells.
If you post the weight, that will help too, since more recent bells tend to be thinner and lighter, the older ones, heavier.