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Cowboy Dinner Bells

To most people the phrase "cowboy dinner bell" or "chuck wagon dinner bell" probably refers to the triangular shaped bell frequently used in the American West during the 1800s.

There are a number of types and styles of dinner bells across the world in use, past and present. But it is the cowboy dinner bell that is strongly associated with working cowboys, the great cattle drives of the 1800s, and the American cowboy in general. Below are cowboy dinner bells for sale on Amazon and eBay.

Below: A triangular shaped bell commonly called a cowboy dinner bell or chuck wagon dinner bell.

A triangular shaped cowboy dinner bell

From eBay, Amazon and Etsy

You might notice that the dinner bells below are called several different things, such as cowboy dinner bells, chuck wagon dinner bells, and triangle dinner bells. They're the same thing, it's just that different people call them by different names.

See more cowbyo dinner bells on Etsy

See more cowboy dinner bells on eBay

A Little Bit About Cowboy Dinner Bells

What most people call a cowboy dinner bell is a bell made from a single metal bar, usually round, that is bent into the shape of a triangle. One side of the triangle is left open: That is, the bar comes close to, but doesn't join up with or touch, the last side. This open design allows for a louder sound when the bell is rung.

To ring a cowboy dinner bell a short, separate piece of metal bar, often referred to as the "striker," is used. The person ringing the bell grasps the striker, holds it inside the triangle, then rapidly strikes one side of the bell, then the next side, and so on, rapidly moving round and round all the sides of the triangle to make a rapid ringing sound.

There are many types and styles of dinner bells throughout the world with most of them being the traditional bell shape. In America, though, it is the triangular shape that came to be particularly associated with ranches, cowboys, and chuck wagons on the great American cattle drives in the 1800s.

Below: A dinner bell by the home of author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896 - 1953), Cross Creek, Florida.

A chuck wagon

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Last of all, just in case you're curious, it is a dinner bell's main purpose to be rung to let people know that a meal has been prepared and is ready to eat. The sound of a bell can carry a lot farther than a human voice, and is an ideal choice to be heard by people working out away from the home or chuck wagon and let them know that it's time to "come and get it."

Below: A chuck wagon, made famous by the American cattle drives of the 1800's. Cowboy dinner bells, also called chuck wagon dinner bells, were frequently used by chuck wagon cooks to let the cowboys know a meal was ready.

A chuck wagon

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