Collections

Communication

Post cards | Books | Stereograms | Sound

Sound

Bells | Other objects

Communication objects that produce sound include bells, rattles, clappers, megaphones and so on. These objects recall a stage in the history of “communication”.

Bells

In addition to their symbolic value, bells are truly one of the means of communication that have maintained the largest listening ratings in history. They announce happy and unhappy events and warn of danger. They provide a rhythm for and enliven our lives. They call us constantly.

The language of bells obeys precise codes. Can we understand their messages?

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Bell

Bell
1994.1183

Table bell

Table bell
1994.2342

Hand bell

Hand bell
1994.45

Hand bell

Hand bell
1994.2344

Cow bell

Cow bell
1994.903

Desk bell

Desk bell
1994.3607

School bell

School bell
1998.8

Hand bell

Hand bell
1996.68

Bell

Bell
1999.21

Hand bell

Hand bell
Late 18th century
1994.2347

Other objects

In addition to bells, other objects were created for communication. The megaphone and foghorn were long used on boats during lengthy trips. Other communication objects such as the clapper or rattle produced sound and had a language of their own.

Jean-Baptiste de La Salle provided a detail description of the clapper, that piece of wood that opens at one end like the beak of a bird and produces a sharp sound when closed. “Every time a good student hears the sound of a single snap of the clapper, he will imagine that he hears the voice of his Teacher or even the voice of God himself, calling his name.”

The rattle, a small instrument consisting of a cogwheel and a flexible strip of wood, produced a distinctive sound and had its own language. For example, lepers carried rattles to announce their approach.

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Clapper

Clapper
1994.1348

Clapper

Clapper
1994.1365

Clapper

Clapper
1994.2303.1-2

Pocket clapper

Pocket clapper
1994.1345

Fog horn

Fog horn
1994.1023

Rattle

Rattle
1994.2335