Dating antique sleigh bells
Decoration: Old traditional cast bells from Europe commonly carried a petal or horseshoe design and were subsequently referred to as “petal bells.” Individual makers might include their initials, or perhaps the size of the bell.
As styles changed and stamped bells became vogue, bells were left undecorated and were polished to a shine.
Hip straps: Usually just a few bells make up a hip strap, which slides onto the back strap of the harness and hangs down over the horse’s lower back or hips.
The hip strap is a common place to find Swedish bells with their deep voices.
Individual specialty antique bells can still be found with fish-scale or ornate petal designs, but these are much less common.
Their hefty size gives the Swedish bells a deep and loud tone.
The process of metal stamping revolutionized the bell-making industry as well as the tonal qualities!
Okay, now that you’ve finally selected what style of bell you’ll be using, you need to look at your horse and harness and decide where to put these things.
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.Body strap: Arguably one of the more common places to put your bell string, the body strap buckles over the traces of the harness around the horse’s middle.