Friday, September 23, 2016

Finally! I found a Swiss Cow Bell!

Hello friends!  It has been far too long since I've posted anything and I must say that I have really and truly missed blogging these past few months.  I think about it every day but am having several difficulties...technical, financial, physical, emotional, blah, blah, blah who really cares.  Life just has a way of getting in the way!   But, I was determined to post THIS week and seeing as it's Friday, which is to say the week is almost at its end, I decidedly carved out a little niche of time today for a post and am sharing a minor acquisition that I've been seeking out for a couple of years, which is coincidentally almost as long as it takes me to write post to post...ok, just kidding,  I haven't been gone that long.  

 As you come through the entry way of the house and into the family room, there is a short, open hall to the left.  The wall below is what you'll see which blocks from seeing directly into the kitchen (on the right...the fridge is directly behind this wall) and the butler pantry / bar that leads to the dining room (on the left).   After we'd lived here a few months or so I found the large bull head (You can buy one here) and felt like it would be a great topper to this wallscape between the kitchen and dining rooms.   A few months later my step sister, who is currently living in Geneva, Switzerland, posted a photo that showed rows of brass cow bells from one of the antique markets she had taken my Dad and Stepmom to while they were visiting.  I just knew I had to have one to hang on bull head!

Finally, after about two years of casually looking,  I found my own vintage Swiss cow bell!

The importance of the cow bell is highlighted in Swiss folklore.  It reflects a period when a large cow bell, or a great Trychel, was a very rare, highly coveted item. The legend of the Simmental tells of a young cowherd who strayed into the inside of a mountain and runs into a beautiful fairy who offers him the choice of a treasure of golden coins, a golden Trychel (the cow bell) or the fairy herself.  The cow herder chooses the Trychel.

Mine is a later copy of a very famous Swiss bell, but it is still a vintage piece and dates to about 1920-30.  These bells have been made continuously in Switzerland since 1878 up until around 1941 when brass became scarce due to wartime utilization and production had to be stopped.  Vast quantities had been exported and American firms bought molds for the bells and made thousands of them, all dated 1878.    By 1900, Sears and Roebuck purchased over 55,000 bells from one firm alone and began marketing them.  They were used not only for making freely roaming livestock easier to locate should they wander off but also for sleigh bells, carriage bells and even door clapper bells!


I have conveniently borrowed one of Ashton's leather braided belts (though she hasn't yet noticed and probably blames Kalyn for it going missing) to hold the bell around the bull's neck until I can find a real strap for it.

Some of my oldest and favorite pieces of transferware are displayed below the bull head, along with an antique oil painting of sheep. On either side of the painting are two reproduction cow/bull head plaques but I've got a little project going on that will replace these so I will try to post that when it's done.   I don't really see changing this up too much though as I really like everything in the vignette.  Every so often I will put something seasonal in the amber pedestal bowl which now holds several apples. 

 If you like the look of the cow bell and want one for yourself, they are readily available on auction sites for as little as $10 (if you are a cheapo and can hold out a long time like me) and up depending on age, condition, etc.  I just held out for so long because I'm super duper cheap =), and as I have said before, "I'm on the low budget program" which means that money is exceedingly tight around here these days years.   

The cow bell was worth the wait!

Have a wonderful first weekend of Fall, everyone!


  1. Tak długo czekalam na twoj post! wszystko co pokazujesz jest piękne!Duzo zdrowia Nancy, greetings from Poland

  2. How wonderful everything looks!!! I too, am on a super super low budget. Glad you found your 'prize'

  3. The bell's the cherry on top of a deliciously styled wall, Nancy. I love it all. Happy Fall!
    Rita C at Panoply

  4. Everything looks so beautifully styled ♥

  5. Love your cow bell...well worth the wait!! Your vignette is just beautiful. Love everything about it. So warm and welcoming!

  6. Boy, do I know the feeling of being absent from blogging...but I enjpyed your return post. It is indeed such a joy to find something just perfect you've been longing for! It's a lovely bell!

  7. Well Nancy, I have one of these and I thought it was a French ships bell. Thanks for helping me identify it. I will have tp research it further. I will be willing to bet it is a repoduction, but I don't know. It was from my Grandfather who was in Europe dueing WWII and was in many locations and know to have brought small items home. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  8. It is always so fun to finally find the special item we have been wanting and looking for.
    Your new Bull/Cow bell looks right at home

  9. This is absolutely beautiful...the bell AND most of all the entire display!!! I'm looking at my neighbor cows in a whole new light :^)....nah, they are beggars and I love to feed them my scraps, guess I can't hang one on the wall! I might try to find a bell for them though :^)


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