I have a collection of old bells. Can you help me find out anything about my bell collection or refer me to someone?

In about 1893, when interest in “saving” the old Spanish missions was gathering steam, Ms. Anna Pitcher of the woman’s club of Los Angeles proposed that the historic trail of the mission era (El Camino Real) be preserved. By 1904 a plan had taken shape and a group of women formed the El Camino Real Association. This ultimately led to the creation of large marker bells, some 400 of which were placed along the highway and at each mission. One of the key movers and shakers in this effort was Mrs. A.S.C. Forbes. She and her husband Armitage Forbes started a manufacturing company to produce both the large marker bells and various size and type smaller bells. She ran the company for 20 years after he died. I don’t know whether your bells were produced by them but the California Bell Company still exists, and you can check with them.

John Kolstad
California Bell Co.
13600 Westover Dr.
Saratoga, CA 95070-5136

Phone 408-249-1000

Or email to: sales@californiabell.com