Watrous Bell Toys

La vie est belle!

All Blog Posts (32)

Paul Cole

Fellow bell toy collector Paul Cole passed away recently. He was gracious, allowing me to stay at his home several times, and letting me photograph his toys. He will be missed, even though he cost me a pretty penny, bidding aggressively against me for a Watrous bird bell toy. I'll still smile when I see that bird thinking of you, and Max Berry. Paul, say hi to Carol for me.

Added by BellToyBoy on July 6, 2020 at 11:59am — No Comments

spam alert

A new member to Bell Toys spammed at least one member in our group. If you get anything from a Dr. Ronald Morris I suggest you delete it. May Mr. Morris get dumped on in the afterlife by Morris the cat.

Added by BellToyBoy on July 9, 2019 at 10:57am — No Comments

St. Paddy's Day bell toys

For this St. Paddy's day I'm posting several bell toys that are related to U.S. - Irish history. Not everything is politically correct by today's standards. These toys were made in the later half of the 1800s when two events were occurring simultaneously. One was the popularity of the traveling circuses. The second was a wave of immigrants from Europe prompted by desperate conditions there, and the availability of low priced steam boat transportation across the Atlantic to "the land of…


Added by BellToyBoy on March 16, 2018 at 5:00pm — No Comments

American Bell Association New England Chapter meeting

The American Bell Association's New England Chapter will be having a meeting on April 28th in East Hampton Connecticut. Jay Hansen, East Hampton Town Historian, has invited me to give a presentation. I will present a history of East Hampton bell toys. Details to follow. 

Added by BellToyBoy on March 14, 2018 at 2:02pm — No Comments

Toys at Morris Museum Dec 14th 2017 to March 4th 2018

  I just dropped off some bell toys at the Morris Museum in Morristown, N.J. They are having an exhibition of Toys from Dec. 14th, 2017 through March 4th, 2018. http://morrismuseum.org/ There are some toys from my collection, and many from others that will be shown. 

Added by BellToyBoy on December 7, 2017 at 5:16pm — No Comments

Watrous Bell Toys site on the move

Ning.com just announced a substantial rate hike effective October 1, 2016. Due to this change we will be looking for a new home for this Watrous Bell Toys site. Hopefully we will be able to migrate the content from this site to the new one.

Life is good,


Added by BellToyBoy on August 31, 2016 at 5:06pm — 1 Comment

Noble & Cooley

Many of you in the rings that revolve around the antique toy world probably know of Noble & Cooley for their toy drums. Those that revolve around the Civil War history world know of their drums that kept the beat at so many bloody battles. Others in the rings revolving around the music world know of them for the custom drums they are still making today, some 150 years after they started making drums. For me I know of them for a little side line they made for a short while, chime…


Added by BellToyBoy on March 1, 2016 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Bevin Bros. from Yankee magazine in 2010

Here's an article about Bevin Bros. from Yankee magazine in 2010, before the fire.

Bevin Bros. article

Added by BellToyBoy on June 6, 2015 at 4:46am — No Comments

A recent article in the Bell Tower by Rob Roy titled "Donkey Mechanical Tap Bell - Original or Reproduction?"

A recent article in the American Bell Association's Bell Tower by Rob Roy, titled "Donkey Mechanical Tap Bell - Original or Reproduction?" gave a great description of the differences between the original and the reproduction. I've seen a few of both. I have never seen one with the owl. I have a reproduction, but have yet to add an original to my collection. I don't collect tap bells. I collect bell toys, so why would I be interested in this tap bell? It's because it was made by Gong Bell…


Added by BellToyBoy on April 6, 2015 at 10:37am — 2 Comments

Thanks to all who have helped me with my bell toy history puzzle!


More than a few friends have been helping me find pieces to my bell toy history puzzle. Just recently I've received pieces from Dean Markham, Jay Hansen, Elaine Brophy, Barbara Sargent, Richard Mueller, and a librarian as yet unidentified at The East Hampton Public Library.

Jay Hansen sent me a newspaper article about Joel Perkins, a bell toy designer at Gong Bell. that…


Added by BellToyBoy on February 16, 2015 at 11:30am — No Comments

East Hampton Public Library has put online a searchable archive of The East Hampton News

The East Hampton Public Library has put online a searchable archive of The East Hampton News. For anyone researching anything about East Hampton this is a treasure chest of information!  I posted a note on their web site trying to find out who to thank. The librarian there said it was a collaborative effort between the East Hampton Public Library and the Connecticut State Library. I can't say thanks enough.

Being able to unlock this treasure chest from my remote location is a…


Added by BellToyBoy on February 16, 2015 at 10:52am — No Comments

The Max Berry Antique Toy Collection, A Fabulous Opportunity for Some, Another Lost Opportunity for America

Max Berry spent forty seven years putting together one of the finest antique toy collections in the world. Recently he offered to donate his collection to the Smithsonian. He hoped that they would use it as the impetus for starting a national children's or toy museum. According to Max, he had also talked with other collectors and found at least four others willing to donate their collections. The Smithsonian showed enthusiastic interest, and after considering his offer, came back to him with…


Added by BellToyBoy on November 19, 2014 at 12:30pm — 1 Comment

great bell toys upcoming

Max Berry had a very nice collection, ready for november, all online now for viewing,  hopefully this doesn't sound like a ad for us, just thought there is a really good grouping coming soon. thanks all

Added by Rich Bertoia on October 8, 2014 at 2:54pm — 2 Comments

Jeff Bell

I'm sad to say my good friend Jeff Bell ( Jeffrey S. Bell Sr. ) suddenly passed away. Jeff collected hand bells, focusing on the brass ones which were often those made in East Hampton CT. Besides collecting the bells he delved deep into the history of the manufacturers. Much of the history of the bell foundries and the bell toy manufacturers is intertwined. For years he and I were new age pen pals. Our shared research email correspondences go back to 2007. I always enjoyed opening an email…


Added by BellToyBoy on February 3, 2014 at 3:30pm — 1 Comment

Check out the horse drawn wagon with Matt Bevin on it in the East Hampton Old Home Days parade. East Hampton

Check out the horse drawn wagon with Matt Bevin on it in the East Hampton Old Home Days parade.

East Hampton


Added by BellToyBoy on July 16, 2012 at 5:35pm — No Comments

Bevin rebuilding efforts update

The Bevin factory and bell manufacturing may yet continue in East Hampton. (click on the link for the article). Temporarily Bevin has set up shop on Watrous Street in East Hampton. That's the good news from East Hampton in an article by Michael Bartolotta for the EastHampton-Portland Patch..

Commitment to Rebuilding Bevin Bell is Clear…


Added by BellToyBoy on July 16, 2012 at 1:32pm — No Comments

The Airline Rails to Trails is being extended into East Hampton CT

There is an article in the Patch about the Airline Rails to Trails in East Hampton being extended.

This may not seem Bell Toy related unless you know the history of this area. The Airline Railroad helped make East Hampton more accessible by railroad. This in turn helped some of the local industries and hotels on Lake Pocotopaug gain another way of access  to and from New…


Added by BellToyBoy on June 18, 2012 at 8:30am — No Comments

Kirby Manufacturng Co Toys with Bells On Middletown Connecticut Information wanted


I'm looking for information on Samuel Kirby, president of Kirby Manufacturing Co., Middletown Connecticut where he was President in 1915. The company made steel and cast iron bell toys which were similar to those made in East Hampton, Connecticut around the same time by Watrous Manufacturing Co.

In a 1924 Kirby ad there is a toy that uses the same "Rough Rider" cast iron figure used by Watrous Manufacturing many years earlier. I'm looking to find any information on Samuel…


Added by BellToyBoy on June 12, 2012 at 3:28pm — No Comments

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