|Schooner Virginia ship's bell with lanyard. Photo by Diane Murphy.|
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|
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 knotters. 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.|
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.