We have never seen another one - ! This amazing hand bell has a double-ended clapper and two cast brass sides instead of a skirt. When swung, the cast iron clapper inside strikes both sides at once. The resulting tone is astounding -- with its full-throated, deep, rich but resounding and tantalizingly sweet peal, it sounds like a tall case clock. The ring is very loud, with enough reverberation and almost a jingle to it, that if you didn't know better, you would think there was a nineteenth-century grandfather clock in the next room.
We have NOT cleaned it in any way, because we do not want to destroy patina. If it was cleaned and polished, this bell could be a blindingly golden, glowing brass color. The handle is solid wood we believe is cherry, with a gorgeous color and decorative rings turned around it. A brass hanging ring attaches to a long inner spindle that screws into the iron clapper mechanism. This spindle can be unscrewed to remove the handle, if desired. At the base of the handle an attractive brass collar covers the spindle.
Please see our "cutaway" picture in which we have removed one of the brass sides to show the mechanism that reveals a thick, double-ended, hammer shape clapper. (Either side unscrews by simply turning it counter clockwise. We removed only one for this picture.) As can be seen, coming off the stem to which the handle is mounted is a cast iron fork that holds a thick, heavy clapper.
CONDITION is fabulous. This old bell appears to have been lovingly cared for. There is NO damage, other than possibly some minuscule surface marks from age and wear. There are NO chips, cracks, splits, missing pieces or broken parts. The wooden handle is perfect. What else can we say - ? It's wonderful.
SIZE: This bell weighs a full TWO POUNDS before packing. Total length (not counting the brass handle loop) is approximately 10 inches. The brass sides are just under 5 inches across.
PLEASE NOTE - the best way to enjoy the fullest sound is to hold the bell with the handle up, swinging it so each end of the clapper will hit the metal sides at the same time, making them both ring. The clapper strikes the side edges at the center gap between them -- not across the center.
Unfortunately, we have no history on this piece. From some limited research we found that this could be called a muffin bell, or an alarm bell. Apparently bells of this type were used in the mid- to late-1800s for sounding fire alarms or by vendors to attract customers to their places.
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