Feature 5 – Architectural

Section 8 Feature 5 Bell etc
Two views of a copper alloy dome-shaped bell (Cat # 8.50.9) and, on lower left, a copper-alloy doorknob rose (Cat # 8.51.19).

Bell and Door Knob Rose

A simple dome-shaped bell may have been part of a door or service bell (Cat # 8.50.9). This copper alloy dome measures 1 inch in height and 3 inches in diameter. The crown or center of the bell is missing and appears to have been broken away, leaving a crack running the length of the dome. No clapper or other recognizable bell parts were recovered. Dome-shaped bells were used as house bells, to ring for service in a shop and in private homes to summon servants. In June 1858, J. Barton of East Hampton Connecticut received patent No. 20,538 for improvements to a house bell shown in the patent drawing with a similar dome shape. 1 The Russel and Erwin Manufacturing Company catalog from 1865 offered both “call” and “gong” bells, with the latter ranging in size from 3 to 12 inches in diameter. 2 In their 1886/1887 catalog, the Meriden Britannia Company illustrated three pages of dome-shaped “call bells” in various styles, all manufactured from white metal. 3

Another piece of copper alloy hardware from this feature may be related to the bell. A door knob rosette or round escutcheon plate, measuring 1.4 inches in diameter, was recovered (Cat # 8.51.19). This rosette features a large round hole at center (0.5 inches in diameter), flanked by two smaller holes for attachment. The metal between the center opening and one of the attachment holes appears twisted out of shape, as though an attempt had been made to pry the piece. The underside of this round plate is stamped with the number “7,” which appears backward. The number may have been used to note a specific size or model number.



  1. “Google Patents,”Google, database accessed April 29, 2016, http://www.google.com/patents/US20538;J. Barton, patent no. US20538 (1858), Door Bell
  2. Russell and Erwin Manufacturing Company, Illustrated Catalogue of American Hardware 1865 (US: Association for Preservation Technology, reprint of Russell and Erwin Manufacturing Company 1865 catalogue, 1980), 327.
  3. Meriden Britannia Co., The Meriden Britannia Silver-Plate Treasury: The Complete Catalog of 1886–7 (New York, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 1982), 57–59.