Antique Farm Bells
Antique farm bells were once the norm for calling the farm hands in from the fields for dinner.
Farmers often have to work as much as possible. With this being the case, farm women often need to call the men in from the farm when a meal is ready. Before the days of the cell phone this was most often done with a farm bell. Today most of these would be antique farm bells, or a replica of them.
Most antique farm bells are in the size range of 10 to 20 inches in diameter. This is a respectable size and could still be heard up to a half mile away. These antique farm bells are often referred to as cast iron, which is not really accurate as most bells was made from bell metal, an alloy of bronze with up to a 23% tin content.
The C. S. Bell Company of Hillsboro was a major producer of farm bells during the late 19th and early 20th century. Their tradition of bell making is being carried on by Prindle Station, several other companies also continue to make farm bells. The farm bell is no longer a requirement for the farm, but many people like to add them to their own farmstead.
Many bells made today are cheap imitations of an authentic antique farm bell. Quality farm bells can still be purchased new, but if you are looking to purchase an antique farm bell you may need to do some hunting.
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Where to find an antique farm bell
Some good places to start your hunt for an antique farm bell would be:
- eBay - just watch out for imitations, shipping may also be a problem for a large old farm bell
- Other antique web sites - same note as above
- Local antique shops
If you really want to go for an authentic antique farm bell, watch for an estate auction at a local farm. They may, or may not have an old farm bell that they will be selling at the auction. The bell may also still be installed and in use so could be sold with the property.
It also couldn't hurt to visit some stores that area farmers frequent and start putting out feelers that your looking for an antique farm bell. Get to know the people that work at the local feed mill and let them know that you're looking for an antique bell, preferably from a farm.
Definition of a bell
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Good luck with your search for an antique farm bell. A nice antique farm bell can add a touch of nostalgia to almost any home. Just think of how many meals that bell may have called the farmer to as you ring it.