Butler! A right old Ding Dong!

For an old house, you need an old bell. When an antique Butler Bell popped up, my interests were sparked. Hhhhmmm a butler?

It was a bargain battery powered, push button, mahogany butler bell. I’m guessing it is from the 1930, 1940 period. It was British made by Ever Ready.

It has a antique mahogany case, with chromed steel bell. It has a brass carry handle and hinge mounted door and is fitted with 10 metres of ruby coloured silk covered cable. It measures 6″ or 152 mm high x 5″ or 127 mm wide x 3 1/8″ or 8 cm deep. It is fitted with a Bakelite push button, which has some taped repaired cracks. It in good condition, with some patina on the bell. It weighs 675 Grams or 1lb 7oz.

Upon close inspection apart from some heavy tarnishing on the silk covered wire everything appeared to be in near perfect condition ready for some initial testing. Some gentle rubbing with 800 grit on the wires was enough to improve the contact. A quick check proved the push button was functional and there were no breaks in the aging and delicate 10 metre wire.
The first check, was to see at which volts the bell activated; if at all. At 4v it began to ring very nicely. It didn’t seem to ring much better at 8v. So I decided not to overload it in it’s old age. This was very handy indeed as it meant I could convert the bell to a USB rechargeable 4.8volt 2400mAh Ni-MH battery pack. I used a detachable pack with a SM-2P plug designed for remote controlled toys.

To mount the butler bell I made a steel bracket and sprayed it dark copper. This matches the mahogany very nicely. I also added some French polish to the base of the Butler bell as it had a bare finish and we’d be mounting it high up.

In parallel with the Bakelite push button we will wire up a art deco cast brass and ceramic push button. This will sit into the door frame next to the front door. The wire for the push button will probably remain coiled as I can’t imagine it lasting too long if used on any kind of regular basis.

Video surveillance doorbells do have an appeal, but we can hide nonsense. We wanted something with some charm.

An Older 1900’s Butler Bell

Ever Ready also made a similar, earlier model. With an external chime. This model often fetches more money due to it’s quirky looks. This model probably dates from around 1910 to 1920.

It’s an antique mahogany cased bell, with hinge mounted door, fitted with a gothic design carry handle. It has a brass bell mounted to its front and two cable brackets on its rear, fitted with 8 metres of gold coloured silk covered cable. It has a rolled corrugated cardboard for holding its battery stable and measures 8 3/8″ or 213 mm high x 4 7/8″ or 123 mm wide x 4 7/8″ or 123 mm deep. It is fitted with a carved wood push button, which is in good condition. It has two screw eyelets either side of the coils, which are most likely for holding a cover in place. It weighs 1335 Grams or 2lb 15oz.