Dating antique sleigh bells

Therefore, horses and sleighs were turned out spotlessly with plenty of decoration, including rich strings of harness bells — again emphasizing the wealth and status of the owner.The sound of harness bells became inextricably linked with winter activity, especially around Christmas, and an icon was born.Arguably the official “sound” of the holidays, the jingling of sleigh bells instantly puts a listener in the mindset of Christmas. Flip on the radio to virtually any station this time of year and you can tell within seconds if you’re listening to a holiday song — you’ll hear sleigh bells in the background.) One-horse open sleighs are, of course, jingling all the way, and it’s a well-known fact that Santa’s reindeer also wear bells. Who decided that putting bells all over a sleigh and harness were festive?Like other forms of equine ornamentation, bells on the harness, tack or horse itself were used as charms: they were said to bring good luck, ward off evil and protect against disease and injury.Less common body straps are the pony strap, which includes a double-row of small bells (so named because of the size of the bell, not the animal!) or the all-metal Sunday strap which would be used only on special occasions.Most of these multiple-throat bells were stamped rather than cast, allowing for new and unusual shapes.

Throat: The “throat” of the bell refers to the number of slits, which allow the bell to vibrate and therefore ring.(I warned you that this article included things you never knew you never knew.) Shape: Crotal bells for harness purposes are commonly seen in a few shapes: round or egg-shaped bells were called arctic or globe bells by the makers. Less common shapes include the bevel or band bell with a slightly pointed face; square bells look impressive but are said to sound absolutely terrible (and are also quite fragile).Other specialty custom bell shapes include acorns or flower buds.A warning: even the most careful driver may sometimes get a line caught up in the bells.Because of the body strap’s location, bells are more prone to becoming broken, scraped off or gummed up with mud and ice.

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