Most unlined bell straps are simple, dark straps of leather with a buckle at one end and a billet (tongue) at the other, much like a plain trouser belt. Some manufacturers produced more elaborate bell straps featuring fancy trims -- thin linings or edge bindings made of celluloid, oil cloth, or leather.
The trim color on many fancy bell straps often matched the color of the main bell strap. On some, however, the trim colors were loud shades of green, orange, blue, white or red. Most of these bright colors have faded considerably over time. Because trims were chosen more for decoration than for durability, they are often in sad shape today.
The restored bell strap is made of dark brown bridle leather. It is 1" wide including its edging. The thin leather edging in a slightly lighter shade of brown is "pinked" with a decorative zig-zag pattern and securely stitched to the main strap.
The 41 "round ridge" bells on this strap are 1" in diameter and are tightly spaced 1 1/4" apart. The overall finished length of the strap is just over 5 1/2 feet. Some of the bells on the original strap are missing from the restored version. In our experience, intact straps of this design usually had 60 or more bells and were typically 6 to 7 feet long.
Most of the bells were long gone from the strap before it was sent to us. We unfortunately broke another three of the remaining bells, despite our best efforts to minimize the chance of breakage. We do not break many bells, but it does occasionally happen -- usually when we are driving the rivets out of bells such as these. Heavy rust on the rivets and old hairline cracks in the bells are the usual culprits in cast brass bells like these.
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.