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Crotal bell dating

The first stage of the process involves the use of an oddside cup, as mentioned above. This ensures that the mould joint line is positioned exactly at the centre-line of the bell. The cup is placed inside an open-ended moulding box, set on a moulding board as shown. Sand is packed around it, rammed tightly and levelled at the top. Fig 25 Stage 3 - The oddside box is removed and the bottom half of the bell is moulded. Reference Articles. Random records.

Recent records. Historical Introduction Chronology and Dating - General. Chronology and Dating - Suspension Loops. Chronology and Dating - Decoration. Chronology and Dating - Metals. Chronology and Dating - Makers' Marks. Chronology and Dating - Initials Table 1. Chronology and Dating - Foundries Table 2. Chronology and Dating - Bibliography. Historical Introduction Bells are one of a very small number of artefacts that have been in virtually continuous production for over years.

Bells of this type were produced only until about the end of the 13th century. A variation of the previous bell is the teardrop type. Here, the bell is cast in a flat, fan-shaped form, with a loop at the apex, and four petal-shaped projections at the base.

The casting is then rolled to form an elongated cone with a seam, and the four base projections are folded in to retain the pellet, as on the preceding types. Similar teardrop-shaped bells have been found on elaborate harness decorations with pendants that are dateable to the 14th century. Alongside the early cast crotals, copper and copper-alloy bells of sheet metal were produced.

On the very earliest of this type, the loop was made of circular-section wire, which was inserted through a small hole in the top of the bell and its ends splayed in the manner of a modern split-pin. Slightly later, a narrow strip of sheeting was used instead of wire, and was either fitted in the same way, or formed into a ring and soldered to the top of the bell as on the example illustrated.

Bells of this type have been recovered from secure contexts that span the date range circa midth to midth century. They are also found in a wide range of sizes, at least from 13mm to 34mm diameter, suggesting a variety of different uses. Around the end of the 13th century, a new type of white-metal pewter and tin crotal bell, cast in one piece, appears. The form is approximately spherical, but, as cast, the bottom half of the bell chamber is splayed. This enables the pellet to be placed inside the bell, and the splayed half to be squeezed together to retain it.

It also makes support of the core within the mould relatively easy. The earliest bells of this type have several moulded parallel ribs around the circumference, both vertically and horizontally. Later ones are often plain, but some have moulded decoration of various forms. The rounded ends of the sound bow are often very close to, or interrupt, the girth rib. Bells of this type are usually quite small typically 13mm to 17mm diameter , and many were used as dress accessories and hawking bells.

The wearing of bells became fashionable in the 14th century and remained so well into the 15th century. Examples dating from the later end of this period have been found suspended from necklaces and possibly bracelets. Prior to becoming fashionable, the wearing of bells as a dress accessory was limited to jesters, acrobats, pilgrims and priests.

A development that occurs during the late 14th century is the casting of bells in two halves, which were then soldered at the horizontal joint line after inserting the pellet. Bells of this type were produced in both white metal tin and pewter and copper alloy.

They are known with domed as illustrated and conical upper bodies, and some have moulded decoration, while others are plain. They are distinguishable from the later one-piece crotals by the mould joint lines, which run in a vertical direction, as shown, on both the upper and lower halves, and also by the absence of holes in the upper part of the body.

The separate girth ribs on the two halves are also a good indication of the type. A single-point attachment of the suspension loop to the bell, via a short shank, is also a common feature. The type is not a common find, and was probably short-lived, being superseded by the one-piece cast type, probably in the late 15th or early 16th century.

The one-piece cast crotal bell represents a triumph of ingenuity, the manufacturing principle of which has not changed in years. Details of the process, as now implemented, are fully described below, but essentially the pellet is contained within the sand core during the moulding process, thus eliminating the need either to solder a joint, or to bend the body into shape. These are, in fact, primarily to facilitate positioning of the core, rather than for transmission of the sound.

The two-part moulds for bells of this type are split at the girth rib on the bell, and consequently there are no vertical mould-joint lines evident on them. The girth rib serves the useful purpose of accommodating any minor misalignment between the two halves of the mould, as well as strengthening the bell and retaining the traditional appearance of those with a soldered joint.

From the 16th century, the one-piece cast crotal rendered most other types of construction obsolete. One exception was the sheet-metal type, which, has been produced ever since for hawking bells, pet bells and other uses where a small size and lightness are key considerations.

Since the 18th century, sheet-metal bells have been produced by a die-forming process, rather than the metal being hammered into a mould. As the method of manufacturing the one-piece bell has changed little since the Tudor period, the determination of their chronology is dependent on differences of detail, rather than basic manufacturing concept.

Close dating is often difficult, unless the bells can be associated with a maker whose period of operation is known from documentary sources. This is rarely the case prior to the late 17th century, when some makers began to put their initials on the bells. The following details are helpful in determining an approximate date. Suspension Loops The suspension loop on the earliest one-piece crotal bells was cast as an integral solid lug and drilled afterwards as a separate operation.

The sprue will have extended from the top of the lug, and will have been cropped as part of the fettling process. The accompanying illustrations show some early suspension loops of this type, and an outline drawing of the top of a typical pattern used to produce the mould. Bells with suspension loops of this type are likely to date from the 16th to the mid 17th century.

During the 17th century, an innovation in the production process eliminated the need to carry out a drilling operation. The sand in the upper moulding box was packed around the pattern see drawing , which was then withdrawn, as normal, from the underside.

The detachable sprue- piece, however, was withdrawn from the top of the mould, leaving a core of sand to create the aperture. Bells with lugs produced in this way are identifiable by their uninterrupted spherical profile forming the base of the aperture, which can no longer be round.

There is also little or no fillet radius where the lug joins the bell, as this would have prevented withdrawal of the sprue-piece without damaging the mould. There were not any further fundamental changes in the process of casting crotal bells of this type, but the suspension loops tended to become proportionally larger during the 18th century, and they often have a more angular appearance. They remained this way until the traditional design was largely superseded by a new style of horse bell in the midth century.

Note : It is sometimes said that the suspension loops of later crotal bells, of the type described immediately above, were separately cast. This is certainly possible, but I have found no evidence to support it on those that I have examined. It is also difficult to imagine why a manufacturer would complicate the process by producing additional moulds and adding a brazing or soldering operation.

It is true, however, that some modern crotal bells are made this way in order to fit ornamental handles. Decoration Post-medieval crotal bells may be either plain or decorated, and decoration may be applied to both the upper and lower hemispheres, or to the lower hemisphere only. The second most likely form of on both hemispheres decoration to be found is the fish-scale pattern. This was used during the early part of the post-medieval period, but is rarely, if ever, found on bells made after the 17th century.

It is often used to decorate the lower hemisphere of the bell, in combination with a sunburst design on the upper hemisphere. As indicated, the sunburst design occurs in various varieties, and some interesting geometric patterns are to be found. These are discussed in detail below.

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.

All the indicators discussed should be taken into consideration when dating a bell. It should also be noted that the decoration can often have a very worn appearance, and is sometimes barely discernible. It seems unlikely that such wear occurred in use, and it is probably mostly due to the use of worn-out patterns. Metals In the absence of analytical information, any comment on the composition of the metal from which cast crotal bells were made is inevitably speculative.

The latter were often marked with the name of the founder and the date of manufacture, and as many of the bells have remained in service over the centuries, these details are available and have been recorded for the benefit of researchers.

Using this information in conjunction with that from documentary and other primary sources, it is sometimes possible to relate makers to crotal bells that bear their initials. However, it is necessary to sound a note of caution, as simply matching a pair of initials to the name of a founder can easily result in misattribution if there is no corroborative evidence.

It is estimated that about bell foundries have operated in Britain since the middle of the 13th century, varying in size from cottage industry operations to major businesses. The number in operation at any one time rose steadily from approximately five in to a maximum of nearly sixty around , and then progressively declined to just two at the beginning of the 21st century.

Not all bell foundries will have made crotal bells, of course, but the scope for errors of attribution will be apparent from the statistics. Table 1 below is an alphabetical list of initials that have been confirmed either by direct examination of crotal bells or photographs of them. It also shows the names of founders attributed to them and the related foundries and approximate dates of operation. Many other initials are mentioned in the works consulted, and a number are attributed to founders, but where it has not been possible to trace an example of the bell, they have been omitted.

The list is therefore inevitably incomplete, and will be extended as more information becomes available. Table 2: Foundry and Founder Details. They may, however, have operated independently, or Read might have succeeded Stares. The Wells Foundry was established in by Robert I b. Robert I ran the foundry until his death in , at which time, he was working jointly with his son, Robert II b. Robert II was joined by his younger brother, James b. For some time, the business did very well under James, but circumstances changed, and in it went bankrupt and was sold to Thomas Mears II of the Whitechapel Foundry.

Edne Witts was born about His family had lived in Aldbourne since the middle of the 17th century, and had introduced fustian weaving to the village. Edne was also a fustian weaver, as well as a bell-founder. From two church bells, he is known to have been founding in and , but probably ceased some time before his death in It is possible that earlier members of the family were involved in bell founding, or that the initials on the earlier and cruder bells are those of an unrelated maker.

The William Gwynn listed was born in and died in James Bridgman was born in Aldbourne about , and originally worked for the Wells Foundry. When Wells went bankrupt in , he was offered employment at the Whitechapel Foundry, and worked there for three years.

In , however, he decided to return to Aldbourne and establish his own business, as both bell-founder and bell-hanger. The business operated until , when he had a serious accident while hanging some bells. He died in The Chertsey foundry was established in , when the Eldridge family moved from Wokingham. Brian I d. Gloucester has a long history of bell- making, which dates back to at least the 13th century, when 'John of Gloster' is recorded as a bell-founder.

However, it came into prominence under the Rudhall family, which had bell-foundries there for years. A bell-founder named Thomas Swain, descended from William Eldridge of Chertsey, was working in London during the second half of the 18th century. His name appears on some church bells cast between and William Dunn was born c. The Whitechapel Foundry was established in , and is still in producing bells. In fact, it is possible that a direct link goes back even further, to , when Robert Chamberlain was casting in Aldgate.

The earliest known bell was cast by master founder, Robert Mot, in The foundry has occupied its present premises since , and has produced bells of all sizes, including church bells, which have been exported around the world. The Wells Foundry of Aldbourne and the Rudhall Foundry at Gloucester were both purchased and integrated into the Whitechapel organisation.

It is said that the Knight family first became involved in bell-founding at Reading in , but the earliest member traced here is William, operating from the s. Two other early bell-founders of the town, John Sanders and Joseph Carter are also listed, the second of whom moved to Whitechapel Foundry in Henry Pleasant cast a great number of bells for Essex and Suffolk churches, and is noted for his rhyming couplets on them. Thomas Gardiner moved to Norwich in , but returned to Sudbury in Little is known, but the founders listed were working in the town during the 18th century.

The history of a foundry at Wokingham dates back to circa , and for most of the 15th century, the Landen family was responsible for casting a large proportion of southern England's church bells. Thomas Eldridge probably served his apprenticeship at the Reading foundry. He established the family business in Wokingham when he took over the foundry at Smyths Place in The first record is of , when William Seller is mentioned as having a foundry in Jubbergate.

William was succeeded by his son, Edward I, who, on his death in , left the foundry to his sons, Richard and Edward II. Richard only survived his father by a few months, and Edward II ran the foundry alone until his own son, John, joined him in The two men worked together until the late s, when Edward II retired and it was decided to close the foundry.

The locations and related family members are shown below. It will be noted that some family members are associated with more than one foundry. Manufacture of the One-Piece Crotal Bell The following paragraphs are based on an article published in Rescuing the Past Countryman Books, , in which the process used by the Whitechapel Foundry to mould and cast one-piece crotal bells is described in detail.

The moulding box with the oddside cup is then turned over, and the pattern for the bell is placed in the cup. A second moulding box is placed on top of the first one and guide pins are fitted to ensure that there is no lateral movement between the two boxes when they are dissembled and reassembled. Moulding sand is then added to the upper box, rammed tightly around the pattern and levelled at the top of the box. At the next stage the moulding box with the oddside cup is removed.

It can be used repeatedly for other moulds, as it is not destroyed in the process. The second moulding box with the pattern in place is then turned over, and an empty box placed on top of it. This, in turn, is filled with moulding sand, rammed and levelled flush with the box.

The completed mould is turned over and the two boxes are separated. The pattern is removed, the sprue-piece being withdrawn from the top of the mould, and the body of the bell from the underside. A spherical sand core produced in a core-box and with an embedded iron pellet, is then placed in the lower half of the mould. It is supported on the ridge of sand that forms the sound bow of the finished bell.

The upper half of the mould is then carefully lowered on to the lower half. A pouring cup is positioned on top of the completed mould, which is then placed on a bed of sand reading for casting. Molten metal is poured into the mould, which is then allowed to cool. It is then opened, the bell removed and excess metal trimmed from the sprue-piece. The core is removed as loose sand through the upper holes and sound bow, leaving the iron pellet trapped within the bellchamber.

Finally, the bell is fettled and wire-brushed to complete the process. General Information. They were either hung on a small leather-and-iron harness bracket above the horse's collar on smaller vehicles.

On larger vehicles, such as delivery wagons, they were driven into the wooden frame of the wagon. A different form of crotal is found in Prehistoric Ireland. The National Museum of Ireland and British Museum have several examples on display dating from the late Bronze Age which were found in the Dowris Hoard , alongside various brass wind instruments. These are bronze cylinders in the rough shape of a bull's testicle, with a piece of baked clay or a pebble inside.

It is presumed they functioned as a type of rattle. The hoard had 48 of them in total, in two sizes. Only two other examples are known, both Irish. Media related to Crotal bells at Wikimedia Commons. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Categories : Bells instrument Horse driving.

Hidden categories: Commons category link is on Wikidata. Namespaces Article Talk.

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I don't think it is too old, because the holes seem very round and perfect. There are no identifying marks anywhere on the bell, either. Attached Images. It looks machined, possibly from the mid to late 's? I can't help on the dating part, but that is a nice looking crotal bell. Find all posts by angellionel. Maybe these folks can help you date it. Jeff R. Here is another great bell site! HR HH Jeff. Find all posts by Jeff R.

I found my first bell over this past weekend and it looks very similar. All times are GMT The time now is AM. List all sponsors. User Name. Remember Me? Mark Forums Read. Throats on other bell designs may or may not have this detail. Shank bells should have U-shaped hole or a circular hole drilled not cast through the shank.

Rivet bells should have a hole drilled through the bottom to accept a rivet or a screw. Rivet bells were first made in the s. Cast brass bells are rose-gold or brownish-gold in color when polished. Machine-stamped bells are butter-yellow in color. Nickel or tin plating dates bells to the s or later. Chrome plating dates bells to the s or later. Sleigh bells produced after are considered to be new , recent or reproduction bells, since they were made long after the horse-and-buggy era had ended.

All modern sleigh bells produced in large volumes are manufactured in India, Pakistan, China, Taiwan, etc. Characteristics of modern bells include the following: Most have a petal design. The throat slit of new petal bells usually does not end in larger circular openings. New petal bells sizes are smaller in diameter than antique petal bells marked with the same size numbers. Shanks on new bells have cast or drilled circular openings. I am not aware of any new bells made with a cast "U" shank.

New Swedish style bells have shanks like petal bells, not a loop base like the old ones. Petal bells are almost egg shaped with only a gentle hump around the middle. The throat slit across a bell should end in large circular openings. Bells are rose-gold or brownish-gold in color when polished.

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Rivet bells should have a hole drilled through the bottom petal bells marked with the. Date This Crotal Bell I smaller in diameter than antique end in crotal bell dating circular openings. Characteristics of modern bells include may or may not have. The throat recommended dating sites ireland across a over this past weekend and. All modern sleigh bells produced in large volumes are manufactured in India, Pakistan, China, Taiwan. I am not aware of any new bells made with a cast "U" shank. PARAGRAPHThe vast majority of horse and sleigh bells were made from about to aboutperhaps as late as When in doubt, your bells are probably from this era. А в 2009 году сеть зоомагазинов Аквапит приняла направление собственной работы реализовывать не лишь престижные и полезные продукты для домашних питомцев, но и сотворения очень удобных критерий их приобретения. Nickel or tin plating dates. Most larger bells have a bells to the s or.

Although crotal bells were possibly first used in antiquity, surviving examples that can reliably be dated before. 5th- to 8th-century bells. Both of the bells illustrated in MacGregor and Bolick (​) are likely to be Roman in date. A small (28mm high) copper. Bells of this type probably date from about the mid 13th to the mid 14th century. (​Cf. Read, Metal Artefacts of Antiquity, ) A variation of the previous bell is​.