Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Handmade Bellropes and Lanyards- A Sailor's Art

Schooner Virginia ship's bell with lanyard. Photo by Diane Murphy.
The bell rope, also referred to as a bell pull or bell lanyard is a piece of fancy work attached to the clanger of a ship's bell. It is a necessary accoutrement to the ship's bell, both for function as a way to ring the bell as well as ornamentation as a symbol of pride.

According to Vince Brennan of Frayed Knot Artworks, the ship’s bell is considered the 'heart' of a ship. Ship's bells are almost mystical objects, especially for as superstitious a lot as are sailors. They are polished before all other items and are the last thing to be removed when a ship is decommissioned or scrapped. US Navy vessels have their names engraved on their bells and when a ship is struck from the list, the last Commanding Officer usually receives the bell for safekeeping.

Bell lanyard made by Vince Brennan for the Zuni Maritime Foundation. Photo by Joe Elder
For information about 12 inch ship's bell bell rope or lanyard by Vince Brennan (pictured above) follow this link to this item at Skipjack Nautical Wares Nautical Hardware.

The bell-rope is a symbol of the Pride in the ship taken by the crew... battleships and other major vessels will usually have the fanciest bell-ropes, often the product of several hundred hours of labor by one or more expert knot tiers. The more detail and embellishments, the more respect it engenders.

Exceptional bell lanyard by Marty Combs.

Crafting fancy rope knot work such as  bell lanyards was mastered by sailors during the height of sea trade in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. For long extended times, sometimes years, a sailor was at sea.

 On whaling expeditions, little of that time in comparison was actual whaling work and sometimes months would pass between sightings. Sailors had hours upon end of idle time and some chose to create trinkets and art. Examples of sailor’s art work are: scrimshawed whale’s teeth and bone, fancy rope knot work, wood and ivory carvings such as whimsies, cane heads, pie crimpers, pipe tampers, fids (made for splicing rope) swifts (yarn winders), corset busks and many more interesting and beautiful pieces.

Handmade fancy knotwork bellrope or lanyard by Joe McNelis.
For information about handmade fancy knotwork bellrope or lanyard by Joe McNelis, follow this link to the item  at Skipjack Nautical Wares Nautical Hardware.

Whether you desire to dress up your ship's bell on the finely fitted yacht or simply a bell hanging by your door, handcrafted bell lanyards are symbolic as a part of maritime tradition and pride.

 Visit Skipjack Nautical Wares Nautical Hardware for our current selection of handmade fancy knotwork bell lanyards available today for your ship's bell.

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