The bells on this strap are a handsome group of large bells from the early 1800s. They were given to the owner by a friend who no longer wanted the bells. I have no idea if the current owner has shown the restored bells to his friend -- if he has, I imagine the friend really regrets giving the bells away!
The bells range from #6 (1 3/4" diameter) at the ends to #15 (3") in the center. All but the two smallest bells were made between 1800 and 1850 by William Barton and one or both of his sons Hiram or Hubbard Barton. Click "Enlarge" to see a closeup of the most unusual William Barton bell in this set. The two #6 bells are newer, dating to the mid to late 1800s.
Since early 1800s bells are not common, they are worth preserving regardless of condition. We used all of the bells on the strap, including several with serious cracks, holes, and other damage.
We put the bells on a rivet-style strap to keep the finished piece sleek and uncomplicated. Because the bells are so large, the dark brown strap is 2" wide in the center for good support, but tapers to 1 1/4" wide at the ends to reduce unnecessary bulk when the strap is buckled. The overal length is 66 inches from buckle to tip.
The metal dot between each pair of bells is a solid brass tubular rivet. The rivets 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.