Dating antique sleigh bells

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A bell usually has a practical purpose, like calling guests to dinner or alerting patrons to closing time at a bar. ff3=4&toolid=10044&campid=5336649018&customid=bell&lgeo=1&mpre=

Bells are one of a very small number of artefacts that have been in virtually continuous production for over 4000 years.

The earliest known examples were made in China before 2000 BC, and they were familiar everyday objects to the ancient Indians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.

They have served a number of purposes, from ritual, magical and religious, to musical, signalling and warning.

They are known with domed (as illustrated) and conical upper bodies, and some have moulded decoration, while others are plain.

On the very earliest of this type, the loop was made of circular-section wire, which was inserted through a small hole in the top of the bell and its ends splayed in the manner of a modern split-pin.

Slightly later, a narrow strip of sheeting was used instead of wire, and was either fitted in the same way, or formed into a ring and soldered to the top of the bell as on the example illustrated.

Bells of this type have been recovered from secure contexts that span the date range circa mid-13th to mid-15th century.

They are also found in a wide range of sizes, at least from 13mm to 34mm diameter, suggesting a variety of different uses. Mo L, Dress Accessories, 1644-1667; B Read, History Beneath Our Feet.

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