Dating crotal bells

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Oxgirl
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Dating crotal bells is done with a mixture of a few things. These are all just guides and there are exceptions to every rule! For clarification I'm purposefully not including the roman and medieval sheet metal ones here, this is just a guide to the general dating of the round, cast crotal bells that started to be produced in the early 16th century (maybe late 15th no one is absolutely sure) we more regularly find!

1. Decoration - both the top and bottom decorated is usually a sign of age. They went from both the top and bottom being decorated (usually but not always pre 18th century) to just the bottom half (18th-19th century) then none. If you are lucky you'll find a fish scale one (all 17th c or earlier) or one with a face on (mid 16th to mid 17th century). I've only ever found parts of both of these types and I'd kill for a whole one with a face on!
2. Material - grey ones (higher tin content) tend to have an earlier date. The copper ones can be a mix of dates but you are very unlikely to find a grey one that is post 17th century. FYI - the grey ones do not polish up, you'll just damage them!
3. Loop (proper name - sprue) - the suspension loops were originally cast in situ and then drilled. Later ones had them added after. As a rule the more crude the sprue the later. They went from small and elegant to big and out of proportion over time.
4. Weight - earlier ones have a nice heavy feel in the hand and the later ones are lighter.

For a full guide go here
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Easylife
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Oxgirl wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:05 pm As a rule the more crude the sprue the later. They went from small and elegant to big and out of proportion over time.
Weird that isn't it, how they managed to make such a simple thing as a suspension loop so crudely as if on purpose? :shock:
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Oxgirl
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Easylife wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:46 pm Weird that isn't it, how they managed to make such a simple thing as a suspension loop so crudely as if on purpose? :shock:
Mass production techniques and cost reduction. You get a bell for a fraction of the cost of the beautiful hand cast complete early ones. If it isn’t as pretty and elegant I guess it didn’t matter - :roll:
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Easylife
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I guess that they evolved into the modern day tracking device! :rollinglaughing:
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shaggybfc
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I found one this afternoon, I'll be using your guide tomorrow :thumbsup:
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shaggybfc
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Just for you Cath.
The one I found yesterday:
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Easylife
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A very nice rarer fish-scale type, well done. :thumbsup:
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Oxgirl
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You got a fish scale one :shock: I hate you, I am desperate for a complete one of those. Lucky man! 17th century or earlier and often dated 1550-1650.

Very jealous now :Star:
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Blackadder43
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Well done Shaggs.....I am just joining the well gel queue as we speak :thumbsup:
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Easylife wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:51 pm A very nice rarer fish-scale type, well done. :thumbsup:
Indeed - looks like HW makers mark as well. So I’d ID this as William Seller’s un-named foreman. 1683-87. this is only the second I’ve ever found
OGs guide works..... :thumbsup:
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Oxgirl
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I found this large piece this week. It would have been a corker too :? Ahhh well I’ll find a larger one way or, even better, a face or fish scale one :D
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Mucky
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I once dated a crotal bell.. I wasn't looking my best and felt a bit poorly.. She said I looked like a zombie.
That's when I told her I was a "real dead ringer for love"!
Sorry.. I'll get me coat. :)
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Had this mooshed medieval one today, very early type made from sheet metal, unfortunately not in the best of conditions :thumbsup:
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Ladybird66
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Thanks for posting Cath. I’ve seen & glanced through this before, ages ago and really not absorbed much of it.
Just had another look and it occurred to me, maybe, there’s the reason Crotal bells aren’t found this far S/W. Not one maker in Wales. The nearest I’ve ever got to one was finding part of the top of one on a club meet and that was nearer to Cardiff so probably made in Gloucester.

Having said that I remember reading that on a foul and windy night an unfortunate widow lady went looking for her missing Cow and following the sound of its bell fell down a mine shaft (loads of them around here) and died after breaking her neck !
And exactly where was that ? A farm on the other side of the lane where I live ! Now owned by Folly Farm who now chase Lions & Giraffes, not Cows. Found that snippet in the Coroners records for the Parish. Made really interesting reading. (Sad or what ? ) :roll:
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Oxgirl
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alloverover wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:14 pm Had this mooshed medieval one today, very early type made from sheet metal, unfortunately not in the best of conditions :thumbsup:
I’ve only ever found one of those (and it rings!) and love them. I like the idea of people wearing them on their clothes, it must have been interesting :D
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