Feb 4: Bevin Brothers, Sleigh Bell Manufacturers

East Haddam Grange ~ 6:30 pm ~ Potluck followed by program

Bevin Brothers, one of the oldest continuously operated factories in Connecticut (making hand-crafted bells since 1832), is the last remnant of a once-thriving industry that earned East Hampton the nickname “Bell Town, USA.” East Hampton once produced 90 percent of the world’s sleigh bells. In addition to traditional sleigh bells, Bevin Brosnow produces cow bells sold  at football games and ski races, teacher’s bells, tea bells. patio and yacht bells, even the hand bells that Salvation Army workers ring outside retail stores. “It’s nostalgia,” Bevin says. “Bells make attractive sounds that bring back so many important moments in a life — weddings, the dinner bell, Christmas. They conjure up images that were important in people’s lives.”

That nostalgia runs deep in the New England experience, even if few people recall exactly how sleigh bells came to symbolize winter and the Christmas season. In the 19th century, when roads were narrow and curved, sleigh runners gliding over the snow were almost completely silent. Harness bells were introduced to warn pedestrians and others on the road about the approach of another sleigh, and were considered so important that many states passed laws requiring their use.

See more at http://bevinbells.com/


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