This strap was made from an assortment of loose antique sleigh bells supplied by our customer, so we had free rein on the design. We chose a group of 19 bells in sizes typical of the late 1800s when the bells were originally made.
The strap has #2 (1 1/4 inch) bells at each end and a #8 (2 inch) bell in the center. The bells are ordered as follows: #2-#2-#3-#3-#4-#4-#5-#6-#7-#8- and back down to a #2.
Unlike modern (reproduction) sleigh bell straps, many straps made in the 1800s often had two or more bells of the same size in a row, and these bells were usually in the small to medium sizes.
Smaller bells are less expensive and usually have a brighter and more musical tone than the larger bells, so this practice would have kept the cost down and brightened up the sound.
We put the bells on a rivet-style strap to keep the piece sleek and uncomplicated. The dark-brown strap is 1 1/8 inches wide and about 62 inches long from buckle to billet tip.
The old steel buckle is from our stash of salvaged hardware and is stitched in place with two rows of straight stitches. The liner strap at the billet end is stitched to the bell strap with a traditional "dart" pattern.
The metal dots between each pair of bells are solid brass tubular rivets. They fasten the liner strap and bell strap together and also provide a decorative accent. Tubular rivets were often used on sleigh bell straps in the late 1800s.
This particular item is a custom, one-of-a-kind project made for a past client. Items in this Custom Projects section are for information only; they are not available for regular sale.