Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Object of the Week

Talk about conspicuous consumption! With feet allowing this dinner bell to rest on the table, those using it wouldn't even have to lift it. Simply and daintily tap the rod, and the bell would chime, summoning servants to the table. Representing Victorian excessiveness and a desire to display wealth, this dinner bell is one of many objects created for a single and specific use. Etched with the initials "M. L. R.", its original owner was Mary Louis Ross, rumored to be the first white girl born in Jacksonville.

Dinner bell, c. 1880
Manufactured by Reed and Barton of Taunton, MA
Donated by Harold Heldreth

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