These antique stamped-brass bells are shaped like an old-fashioned "skep" beehive made of coiled straw. The bells date to the late 1800s or early 1900s.
There are three bells 1 1/4 inches across at each end of the strap (total of six) and eight 1 1/2 inch bells in the center. Most of the beehive bells we buy come from Canada, so I assume this style of bell was once popular there.
The medium-brown strap is very close in design to the owner's original strap. It is 1 1/8 inches wide and about 44 inches long from buckle to buckle. The narrow billets at each end are about 12 inches long and are fastened to the main strap with small copper rivets.
With the owner's consent, I dressed up this strap with solid-brass "spots" between each pair of bells. Although the owner's old strap did not originally have spots, I often see other straps with beehive bells that are decorated this way.
Sometimes we see evidence that one to three layers of thick felt were added to the backside of some beehive straps. Although the felt linings are badly faded and tattered today, the felt, when new, added a border of bright color to the bell 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.