"You can call me by any name; just don't call me late for dinner!"
That old saying rings true for most people. Family and visitors will know dinner’s on the table when they hear the distinctive tones  from North Country Wind Bells'® newest introduction, the Ship's Bell®. For centuries, traditional ship bells have been used for signaling, keeping time, and sounding alarm.
My wife and I recently gave this pint-size bell to her parents for their anniversary. We thought it would be a nice addition to their screened porch as a wind chime since their waterfront home catches wonderful breezes off of Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire. My father-in-law quickly discovered it was the ideal "siren" to get his guests' attention – without having to yell "Pancakes are ready!" or "Boat’s leaving dock!" (or announce that cocktail hour has begun). His vigorous pealing of the ship's bell now has us all conditioned like Pavlov’s dog!
Whether it's hung outside as a melodic wind chime or indoors as a rousing "come-and-get-it" dinner bell, this handsome pyramid-shaped object makes any place feel like you’re on the New England coastline. And that's exactly where North Country Wind Bells® are made – in the protected harbor town of Round Pond, Maine.
In 1975 Jim Davidson founded the business after many years as a lobsterman working the northern Atlantic waters. The echoes of bell buoys were the sounds Jim depended on during those countless hours of foggy solitude at sea. Back on land, he wanted to create bells that would replicate those reassuring sounds he loved so much.
If you're not familiar with bell buoys, here's a little background…
Bell buoys are usually anchored or moored at the entrance to a harbor, serving as a guide to navigators. The bell is sounded by the motion of the waves, and its tones carry for great distances over the open waters. Most bell buoys have their own identifiable combination of tones unique to their location, providing audible cues to sea-farers long before they reach the harbor.
With some experimentation and lots of trial and error, Jim found the right metal to cut into triangular pieces. He then welded together a three-sided pyramid design that perfectly reproduced the maritime tones he recorded from actual bell buoys.
Today, North Country Wind Bells® offers over 20 wind bells, each with the unique tones reminiscent of the bell buoy from the harbor for which it is named. All of these bells are handcrafted using an eco-friendly process. Their construction-grade steel is made from 60% recycled metal that is specially treated to withstand harsh weather conditions so they can hang outdoors year round, without twisting, tangling, or breaking.
The Ship’s Bell along with its chain for hanging and wind catcher all have a matching pebbled antique bronze finish that takes on a weathered patina over time. Like all North Country Wind Bells®, it’s virtually maintenance free. And its ascending tones (ranging from a mellow pitch to a medium pitch to a higher pitch) get richer as the metal ages.
Right now, the wind blowing down the alley way outside my store is ringing a Ship’s Bell that I have hanging by the door loud and clear. It must be signaling dinner is about to be served…somewhere!
Founder and Proprietor, New England Everyday Goods & Farm Market , Jaffrey, NH.
Just a stone’s throw down the road from The Old Farmer’s Almanac headquarters, Jim and his wife Susan operate a sprawling retail store that specializes in useful and unusual products with interesting stories behind them.