What I'm Seeing Now

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This Is Why They Call It A Door Bell

Do you wonder sometimes about modern vernacular or phraseology?

Why we "dial" the phone comes to mind.  Or ask for "cream" and sugar?

So, when we push a button near the front door and get an electronic tone (or sometimes a little song or clock chime), why do we call pushing that button "ringing the door bell?"

I saw this on the inside of a door recently.

This house was built in 1882.  It looks to me to still have the original door!

I don't know if this is original, but I recognize it from my grandmother's house, built 1910 in Washington DC.

It is a door bell!

And that's exactly what it is.

Outside the door bell  is this.

It is what rings  the door bell!

Turning it cranks a little hammer inside the bell, causing the door bell  to ring  furiously!

The ring  can be heard throughout the house.  It is loud!

It sounds like a bell  because it is a bell!

Many people probably come to that door and know what this funny little handle is, or wonder what it is, or instinctively know they should turn it and make a sound. 

THERE IS NO BUTTON TO PUSH!

No matter what, turning the handle makes for a very antique sound!  And it brought back memories for me.

My recommendation:  sometimes the olden days had good ideas.  And sometimes those ideas still work as well now as they did then.

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 29 commentsJay Markanich • January 25 2014 04:11AM

Comments

Hi Jay,

Nothing like the old days when things worked and lasted. I would rather see these types of door bells versus the newer types.

Have a good day in Bristow my friend.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 6 years ago

That is very cute.  I love how some things like that are still preserved.

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) over 6 years ago

Morning Jay just old time terminology hanging on in the modern era.  I wonder what would be good to replace it with?  It just  doesn't seem right to call it pushing the button! How about pushing the plunger?  I know, I know electronic impulse device.  or EID for sure.  How does that sound? 

Think I'll just stay with ringing the door bell.  Have a great day

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) over 6 years ago

That bell has been there a couple of days Clint.  It works and sounds great!

Debbie - when they are made well they preseve themselves!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

James - of course they would come up with an acronym, like you did!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Good morning Jay,

At least they didn't waste electricity and we would get some excercise!

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 6 years ago

Wow, old technology is greener than new technology Raymond?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I run across these often, especially in certain sections of the Richmond VA real estate market. My buyers always find it so charming!

Posted by Shannon Milligan, Richmond VA Real Estate Agent/Associate Broker, RVA Home Team - Winning with Integrity. (RVA Home Team) over 6 years ago

Jay, that technology hasn't gotten here yet! I love it. 

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) over 6 years ago

I’ve suddenly remembered my old windup alarm clock because of that photo Jay. Same way to make sound. Just turn it, turn it and turn it. 

Posted by Eric Galuppo (Real Estate Rev - More Leads Means More Revenue) over 6 years ago

Holy Cow Jay, that looks like a wireless doorbell! 

Funny how the names carry on when the products change so much.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 6 years ago

I bet they are all over Richmond, Shannon!  And on the houses with the plaques that say Civil War Historic Home, like they do in Gettysburg.

Maybe soon Tom.  It works like a charm.

I used a wind-up clock all during college, Eric.  And a manual typewriter!  Yikes!

We say a lot of things that are just ingrained into the vernacular Tom.  And where are the upgrades in language?! 

Oh, I remember one - "spam" has changed and upgraded!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay~ I'm a sucker for nostalgia. We are doing some cleaning at our house (new construction, only 7 years old) and I was moving some old record albums, 33s. Wow, was that a blast from the past!

Posted by Donna Foerster, Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant (HomeSmart Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Every time I see one of those in a really old house I think it's really neat the way they did that.  Although I don't know what's so hard about knocking! 

Posted by Marc McMaster, Putting my clients before myself (RE/MAX Centre Realty) over 6 years ago

Donna - my son (35 years old) has a turn table and now and then I give him an old album or two for fun.  I still have a bunch!

Because there's a bell Marc!  The bell really does sound cool.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Hello Jay,

Your post brought back lovely memories from my childhood when we had an 1890's Victorian home with a real door bell!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 6 years ago

Jay, my grandfather and grandmother's house on my dad's side had one like this at their house.  I rang it when I was arriving, when I was there, and when I was leaving.  I love it!

I hope to get that bell off the house someday, if they decide to sell or tear it down (it's in estate now).

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, C.O.O., Winslow Homes (Winslow Homes) over 6 years ago

So, Lisa, it was wireless and greener than anything produced today.  Right?

I wonder if those can be bought today from one of these resoration companies Jeremy?  I would bet so.

Here you go!  http://www.houseofantiquehardware.com/antique-door-hardware/mechanical-twist-doorbell

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay - I love running across one of these, I found one on a 1920s house recently.

Marc - I'm reminded of the scene re: "big knockers" from the movie "Young Frankenstein".

Posted by Gary DeWitt over 6 years ago

I see them from time to time Gary. 

And the follow up line was?

"Sank you!"

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, I love those old true door bells and the big knockers. Our little town dates back to 1709 and there a lot of both still around.

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) over 6 years ago

I've never seen those before Jay. Now I know where the term comes from!

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) over 6 years ago

I think they are fabulous Tom, every time I see them!

Have you ever dialed a phone Suzanne?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Yes, it certainly was...odd how "green" things were back in the "old" days...

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 6 years ago

The greenest thing about the old days was that stuff lasted a really long time Lisa.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I have run into these old door bells on occasion. Pretty cool to see that kind of stuff. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

I always ring them Jim!  They also remind me of the old Good Humor trucks.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, what a unique door bell, and we have some older homes (100 years), but none with these!

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) over 6 years ago

Well, that's a big bummer Joan!  They are here for sure.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

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