The Collector's Book of Bells
by L. Elsinore Springer, Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, 1972, has this to say about this bell:
As with the other collectibles, there can be disillusioning experiences in buying even an ordinary object like a cowbell. Both dealers and collectors have frequently been deceived by the heavy brass cowbell dated 1878 and embossed with the makers name, CHIANTEL FONDEUR, and the Swiss canton where he worked, SAIGNELEGIER. This is a beautifully toned bell available in at least ten sizes, and a genuinely old specimen is much to be desired. However, too many newer specimens are overrated and overpriced. The fact that they are all dated 1878 does not mean they were all cast that year. They have been made continuously in Switzerland and exported in quantities. Years ago two American firms acquired molds for these same bells, and they too made hundreds upon hundreds of them, all of course dated 1878. Up until the Second World War, Sears, Roebuck and Company had been selling these intermittently since 1900, purchasing over the years a grand total of fifty-five thousand from one firm alone. With such statistics in mind it is quite obvious how many such bells are in circulation.
On http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index ... 320AAfHegR
, I found the question:
Does anyone know what the printing on my old bell means -" Saignelegier" "Chiantel Fondeur"?
I found that Saignelegier is a town in Switzerland, Chiantel is the name of the company which produced your bell. Fondeur means foundry. It is a French word. I guess the 1878 is the date the foundry was created. Today some bells are still made by this company.