This strap features an unusual set of sleigh bells made in the early 1800s. Two bells, including the large center bell, were made by Seth North of New Britain, Connecticut. The rest were made by Hiram or Hubbard Barton of East Hampton, Connecticut. It is very common to see early 1800s bells from several makers on one strap.
The owner had buffed and polished the bells to a mirror-bright shine (we prefer to polish antique bells to a softer luster). All of the bells are in very good to excellent condition, allowing for their age. Several have cracks from normal use, and others have medium to large casting defects. These defects are typical and to be expected for bells from this era. The bells range in size from 1 3/8" (#3) bells at the ends to the 3" (#14) bell in the center.
The unlined strap is 1 3/4" wide and about 4 feet long and is made of dark brown bridle leather. I based the design of this strap on an early-to-mid 1800s bell strap from our personal collection.
The solid brass buckle is hand stitched in place with flax (linen) thread using a traditional 2-needle saddler's stitch. The larger-than-normal bell pins are handmade from thick solid-brass wire to fit correctly in the large openings in the shanks of these bells. I darkened the buckle and bell pins to blend with the strap.
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.