HOW TO RECOGNIZE A BLUM
BELL IF THE LABEL IS GONE
There are several ways to tell if an unlabeled bell is a Blum
bell. One is to look at the shape of the bell.
You'll notice in the picture that the bell does not have sharply
creased edges that define the sides, but that it curves. This
is because of the shape of the "former" mentioned on the red Holstein
Bell label--"Die and Former for Shaping Patented." As you
will see also, because of the curved sides, the bottom opening is oval
and the bell flares out slightly around the opening. In the
letter from the satisfied customer (see the link to "Customer
the farmer/rancher comments on how clearly his Blum bell could be heard
across the lot. That is due to the shape of the bell, in
addition to the brazing process.
Another feature to look for is the three-cornered fold at each side of
the top of the bell. On a Blum bell, the corner was cut off
with a definite point. I have seen other bells which had a
blunt end to the fold. Also, the rivets that held the bell
together down the sides were quite flat, which maintained the smooth
and graceful appearance of the bell.
The loop through which the strap for the cow's neck would pass is
flatter than loops on other cowbells I have seen pictured on eBay.
The 99%-of-the-time definitive way to determine if a bell is a Blum
bell is to look up inside the bell. Please look at the bell
interior pictured as you read this. Hold the bell sideways,
as shown. You will see the small ring in the center top, from
which the clapper was hung. (On the outside at the center top
of the bell you will see a rivet that holds that small ring in place.)
You're looking for the ends of the large loop for the strap mentioned
above, which were inserted through slits for that purpose and then bent
inside the bell to keep them from slipping out again. The
brazing process covered every possible chink around the large loop so
that you can't see, from the outside or the inside, any evidence of the
insertion of the ends of the loop.
HERE'S THE IMPORTANT PART -- on a Blum bell, the ends of the large loop
were cut in points, not left blunt. One cut across the strip
of metal that would form the large loop would do it. That cut
was on a slant across the strip, not straight across. This is
what you are looking for when you look at the ends of the large loop.
I have seen bells which were manufactured with the same process for
attaching the large loop--probably this was a standard way of doing
it--but only Blum bells had the metal strip cut this way. I
have sometimes seen what appear to be blunt ends on a bell that
otherwise looks like one of "ours", but only if the bell was in poor
condition, very rusty, bent, etc., where the ends of that loop were
already hopelessly misshapen or rusted away. In those cases,
it really isn't possible to be completely sure the bell you have is a