Crotal Bell

FruitBat

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#1
Several years ago whilst on a metal detecting adventure I came across a Crotal Bell. Here, many many years later I still keep it, a treasured (excuse the pun) memento of days gone by. I've included photo's, I'm wondering if anybody has any information on the bells? Did livestock keepers use a specific design in order to identify their animals should they have been wandering etc? Any information muchly appreciated.....
 

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FruitBat

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#4
I found it in the garden of a house at Easton that I lived in in the late 70's
 

stu neville

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#5
I've made this into a thread of its own.

Easton where, Fruitbat? There's a few.
 

EnolaGaia

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#7
So far I've discovered that the type of bell that I recovered is probably late 18th century.
It has the characteristics of a 'later' bell, though 'later' is a relative term ... These include:

- One-piece body
- decoration on only the lower half of the spherical body
- integrated or cast-in attachment lug / loop
- the angular / rectilinear shape of the attachment loop's outer profile
- the rectilinear opening in the attachment loop

Mid- to late-18th century would be a good estimate for the earliest dating. The probable latest timeframe would be mid-19th century, when this type of crotal bell was superseded.
 

Ermintruder

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#10
Am I the only one to see how similar it looks to the archetypic Santa-bell in the disproportionately-good film "Polar Express"?
 
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Swifty

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#11
Am I the only one to see how similar it looks to the archetypic Santa-bell in the disproportionately-good film "Polar Expresd"?
Well spotted ! .. I hadn't thought of that.

... it seems they turn up in New York as well ..


I'm not sure where this dig was ..

 
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FruitBat

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#12
It has the characteristics of a 'later' bell, though 'later' is a relative term ... These include:

- One-piece body
- decoration on only the lower half of the spherical body
- integrated or cast-in attachment lug / loop
- the angular / rectilinear shape of the attachment loop's outer profile
- the rectilinear opening in the attachment loop

Mid- to late-18th century would be a good estimate for the earliest dating. The probable latest timeframe would be mid-19th century, when this type of crotal bell was superseded.
Thanks for the link, really interesting stuff there. I've tried finding a makers mark on my bell but if there is one it's eluded me so far....
 

FruitBat

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#19
Well, after yet another lengthy examination with both Loupe and magnifying glass, I've come to the conclusion that the bell does not have a makers mark. Disappointing but never the less it's still a fascinating object... So I'll need to get the trusty old detector out and try to find another one...
 

EnolaGaia

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#20
I didn't realise there was a 1 to 14 (I think) size range for them before this thread ..
Decades ago I purchased a heavy-duty key ring with a leather strap holding a large brass crotal bell.

It was something of a gag originally, because my then-wife kept needling me about a couple of incidents when lost or left-behind keys caused big trouble.

I still use it for the keys I need on certain jaunts / trips above and beyond the set I keep in my pocket at all times. The point was to prevent casually dropping this secondary (though quite important) key ring without getting any audible warning. It's also useful when packing for an expedition of any duration where those keys are needed. Did I remember to pack 'em? Are they in this bag? Just give it one shake to cross-check ...

It's turned out to be a surprisingly useful gimmick, and I've not been motivated to terminate the experiment circa 35+ years later.

Anyway ...

This modern crotal bell had a number prominently inscribed on it. I asked the salesperson (back when ... ) if this implied a range of prescribed / standardized bell sizes, and she showed me a chart proving there was such a thing.
 

Swifty

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#22
Well, after yet another lengthy examination with both Loupe and magnifying glass, I've come to the conclusion that the bell does not have a makers mark. Disappointing but never the less it's still a fascinating object... So I'll need to get the trusty old detector out and try to find another one...
You could always check the history records of landowners from the approximate time frame you think the bell was manufactured in .. Norwich museum might know more about it ?.
 

FruitBat

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#23
Been doing some research, apparently some of the bells of this size were attached to carriage horses harnesses so that other horse drawn carriage drivers would hear them and know that another carriage was approaching. I've been looking at a first edition reprint of the area where I found it, there were no houses there then, just fields and narrow roads... I shall keep delving...

Now the lyrics 'Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to ride in a one Horse open sleigh' suddenly make perfect sense :)
 
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escargot

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#24
Been doing some research, apparently some of the bells of this size were attached to carriage horses harnesses so that other horse drawn carriage drivers would hear them and know that another carriage was approaching. I've been looking at a first edition reprint of the area where I found it, there were no houses there then, just fields and narrow roads... I shall keep delving...

Now the lyrics 'Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to ride in a one Horse open sleigh' suddenly make perfect sense :)
Bells are also good for warning pedestrians on dark roads. A common injury in the days of horse-drawn vehicles was a broken hip from impact with the wheel-hub.
 

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#25
I suspect (or might have read) that they might also have served a similar purpose to horse brasses; the Evil Eye is easily distracted by something shiny and a bit of noise, apparently!
 

FruitBat

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#28
I suspect (or might have read) that they might also have served a similar purpose to horse brasses; the Evil Eye is easily distracted by something shiny and a bit of noise, apparently!
That sounds very probable, it also brings to mind a very interesting book that's quietly sitting in my bookcase. I'll take a look through its pages to see what it says about bells during times past.
 
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Ermintruder

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#30
Is this a solid casting, or a curled pressing?

I wonder whether this is something as mundane as a casement latch/bolt-head, or actually a Middle Ages jewelry fragment?
 
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