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School Bells circa ~1820?

Black Angus McPherson

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Does anyone happen to have "proof" that hand held bells were used by school teachers ~1820?  I know there won't be pictures, but maybe contemporary written accounts?


This was brought up in a discussion among re-enactors when one claimed the hand held bells were not historically accurate for that (1820 and before) time period.  Somewhere a decision was made that "If you can't prove it, you can't do it."


I believe the "Little House on the Prairie" books mentioned them, however, they are ~1840, so too late to be used as evidence for 1820.  Plus, one claimed they are works of fiction written much after that time frame and not reliable as proof.


My view:  "Who cares?  If it plays well in the story, go for it."    Some re-enactors can be really anal about stuff.  Obviously I'm not that hardcore.


None of this effects me, I'm just really curious.


I figured somebody here would be able to help.







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@Black Angus McPherson,

     Just a quick check of the Internet yielded this information.

There were more than 190,000 U.S. rural schools in 1919, and many used bells to call students to class.

Only photograph I found shows what may be (see enlarged pic below) a hand held bell of sorts.





Other interesting websites regarding school bells:







Circular shows a range of bells along with their prices



1800's ANTIQUE Brass Hand Held School House Bell










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19 hours ago, Marshal Mo Hare, SASS #45984 said:

And just because bells were used in Bawston does not mean they were even available in Wichita, somebody will want evidence.


Marshall, Ain't that the truth!


FKCGG, thanks for the info.  I'll forward it along.  Still not 1820 but it may give them some more to work with.  ("with which to work" for you grammer nazis)



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