Three crotal bells from a mid-1700's home

brianc053

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Jan 27, 2015
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Hi everyone! I hope you're doing well.
Recently I was granted permission to hunt at a home here in town that dates to the mid 1700's. Apparently there's a beam in the home with "1753" carved in it, and homeowners have kept it preserved (and not covered up or painted over) since then.

Anyway, I've only detected there for a few hours so far and I haven't found any old coins yet, but near the old barn stone foundation (which the owners have turned into a cool flagstone patio, where you can sit at a nice table surrounded by the old stone walls) I found three intact crotal bells, pictured below.

I've done my research into these types of bells but I seem to find conflicting information:
- since these are plain (they don't have the petal design), does that make them newer or older? (I've read that plain ones are often newer)
- It looks to me like the bells are made of brass, but I'm wondering if they're made of tombac? (that would make them older)
- it looks to me like the suspension "loop" was part of the casting and then drilled (I've read that this was an older approach to making the bells). NOTE: I added the wire to the single bell so that it was easier to hold onto and so that I wouldn't drop it.

Anyway, if any experts out there can weigh in on the approximate age of this design, I'd appreciate it.
I've given all 3 bells to the homeowners since they have 3 kids (about 5,7 and 8) and the kids thought they were super cool. I'd like to give the family accurate information on the age of the bells.

Thanks!

- Brian
 

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Upvote 19

billb

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Hi everyone! I hope you're doing well.
Recently I was granted permission to hunt at a home here in town that dates to the mid 1700's. Apparently there's a beam in the home with "1753" carved in it, and homeowners have kept it preserved (and not covered up or painted over) since then.

Anyway, I've only detected there for a few hours so far and I haven't found any old coins yet, but near the old barn stone foundation (which the owners have turned into a cool flagstone patio, where you can sit at a nice table surrounded by the old stone walls) I found three intact crotal bells, pictured below.

I've done my research into these types of bells but I seem to find conflicting information:
- since these are plain (they don't have the petal design), does that make them newer or older? (I've read that plain ones are often newer)
- It looks to me like the bells are made of brass, but I'm wondering if they're made of tombac? (that would make them older)
- it looks to me like the suspension "loop" was part of the casting and then drilled (I've read that this was an older approach to making the bells). NOTE: I added the wire to the single bell so that it was easier to hold onto and so that I wouldn't drop it.

Anyway, if any experts out there can weigh in on the approximate age of this design, I'd appreciate it.
I've given all 3 bells to the homeowners since they have 3 kids (about 5,7 and 8) and the kids thought they were super cool. I'd like to give the family accurate information on the age of the bells.

Thanks!

- Brian
Very nice congratulations
 

Digger RJ

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Aug 24, 2017
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Hi everyone! I hope you're doing well.
Recently I was granted permission to hunt at a home here in town that dates to the mid 1700's. Apparently there's a beam in the home with "1753" carved in it, and homeowners have kept it preserved (and not covered up or painted over) since then.

Anyway, I've only detected there for a few hours so far and I haven't found any old coins yet, but near the old barn stone foundation (which the owners have turned into a cool flagstone patio, where you can sit at a nice table surrounded by the old stone walls) I found three intact crotal bells, pictured below.

I've done my research into these types of bells but I seem to find conflicting information:
- since these are plain (they don't have the petal design), does that make them newer or older? (I've read that plain ones are often newer)
- It looks to me like the bells are made of brass, but I'm wondering if they're made of tombac? (that would make them older)
- it looks to me like the suspension "loop" was part of the casting and then drilled (I've read that this was an older approach to making the bells). NOTE: I added the wire to the single bell so that it was easier to hold onto and so that I wouldn't drop it.

Anyway, if any experts out there can weigh in on the approximate age of this design, I'd appreciate it.
I've given all 3 bells to the homeowners since they have 3 kids (about 5,7 and 8) and the kids thought they were super cool. I'd like to give the family accurate information on the age of the bells.

Thanks!

- Brian
Nice!!! Congrats!!!
 

pepperj

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Feb 3, 2009
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Well done on the 3 crotal bells Brian.
From digging many over the years dating from the 16-20 Century they are still a wonderful find.
The petal design was still around to the mid 19th century.
"Bells that are decorated only on the lower hemisphere tend to be of later date, usually late 18th to mid 19th century. Those with no decoration also usually date to this later period. There are, however, exceptions to this general rule, and plain bells of early post-medieval date are also known."
Though the reference for the latter plain bells would pre-date your find.
If I had dug them I would probably think very late Victorian early.
 

smokeythecat

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Nov 22, 2012
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Nice find. Probably the bronze type and late 18th to early 19th century. Some later ones were silver plated.
 

Hunk-a-lead

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Hi everyone! I hope you're doing well.
Recently I was granted permission to hunt at a home here in town that dates to the mid 1700's. Apparently there's a beam in the home with "1753" carved in it, and homeowners have kept it preserved (and not covered up or painted over) since then.

Anyway, I've only detected there for a few hours so far and I haven't found any old coins yet, but near the old barn stone foundation (which the owners have turned into a cool flagstone patio, where you can sit at a nice table surrounded by the old stone walls) I found three intact crotal bells, pictured below.

I've done my research into these types of bells but I seem to find conflicting information:
- since these are plain (they don't have the petal design), does that make them newer or older? (I've read that plain ones are often newer)
- It looks to me like the bells are made of brass, but I'm wondering if they're made of tombac? (that would make them older)
- it looks to me like the suspension "loop" was part of the casting and then drilled (I've read that this was an older approach to making the bells). NOTE: I added the wire to the single bell so that it was easier to hold onto and so that I wouldn't drop it.

Anyway, if any experts out there can weigh in on the approximate age of this design, I'd appreciate it.
I've given all 3 bells to the homeowners since they have 3 kids (about 5,7 and 8) and the kids thought they were super cool. I'd like to give the family accurate information on the age of the bells.

Thanks!

- Brian
very cool finds, bet there is a lot more coming from that site
 

E-Trac-Ohio

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Feb 9, 2020
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Congrats on the Bells !

Look for maker's marks / initials on the bottom of Crotal Bells.
Then Google search - "Dating Crotal Bells" - there's one or two good websites with historical info.
If they are marked - you can usually find out the who, when and where of the bell.
Seems like a lot of them were made in the UK.
 
OP
brianc053

brianc053

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Jan 27, 2015
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Morris County, NJ
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  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #10
Congrats on the Bells !

Look for maker's marks / initials on the bottom of Crotal Bells.
Then Google search - "Dating Crotal Bells" - there's one or two good websites with historical info.
If they are marked - you can usually find out the who, when and where of the bell.
Seems like a lot of them were made in the UK.
Thanks for the suggestion. I've read those "dating crotal bells" websites (be careful what you google search when using the word "dating....") but didn't see clear guidance on this specific type of bell.
And these are very plain - no makers' mark, no designs...nothing.

As others have suggested my best guess is that they're from around 1800.

- Brian
 

JeffInMass

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Very nice finds and gesture on your part!
 

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