California Bell Company

Originators of the 1906 El Camino Real Mission Bell and other Mission Bells and Bell Street Lights
Crafted in California By Californians since 1906

Wish to order or have a question? Call us at (408) 249-1000 or click here to email us

Scroll down on this page for more interesting history, news articles, products, links, and information.
 

The next Free Delivery Dates have not been scheduled.
Here's how it works.  Our delivery truck will be traveling from San Francisco to San Diego.
If you are located along the route and can take delivery when we drive by, your shipping order of $600 or more is free.
*Call for details and the coupon code for ordering free shipping on line.

Click here for our Bells, Prices and Secure On-Line Ordering or Call (408) 249-1000


 

Check Out These Videos! 
Just Click The Arrow To Start

             "How We Make Bells"                                                  "Bell Tones", the sounds of the bells.
              
 
Click Here for  Other Bells, Prices and Secure 
On-Line Ordering

Need A Big bell For your 
Mission Niche or Bell Tower

"San Juan De Lorena 1762"

"San Juan De Lorena 1762"
Mission San Francisco De Asis
22" tall by 20" wide
115 lbs weight
Available in patina brass, aluminum, and cast iron
$2,995 in patina brass. 

This incredible bell will be a beautiful addition to your mission style home  in need of a bell for your belfry or niche. The bell is 20" in diameter, 2" larger than the classic El Camino Real Bell.  It is  be available in patina brass, cast iron, and aluminum. 
Our "San Juan de Lorena" bell is patterned after an 
early Spanish mission bell we discovered while visiting 
Father Serra's early missions in Mexico
The inscription "S.Fran D Assis" and "Tilaco A 1762" refer to the Mission San Francisco De Assis located in the tiny town of Tilaco, Mexico.  This mission was one the the first  missions built by Father Serra in the year 1762, 7 years prior to his arrival in California
Proudly handcrafted in California 

Click here for more information on our larger bells
 

"San Diego De Alcala 1769"

"Mission San Diego De Alcala 1769"
Mission San Diego
13" tall by 15" wide
95 lbs.
Available in patina brass or aluminum
$1,395 in patina brass. 
This beautiful bell will be perfect to fill your niche at your mission style home. The bell is 15" in diameter, a bit smaller than classic El Camino Real Bell.  It is  be available in patina brass, and aluminum. 
Produced from Mrs. Forbes original pattern of the 1920's.
Proudly handcrafted in California.
 
 

Click Here for  Other Bells, Prices and Secure 
On-Line Ordering

"Jesus Maria Bell 1690"
Jesus Maria 1690 Bell

"Jesus Maria 1690"
Mission San Miguel
13.5" tall by 10.75" wide
30 lbs. weight
Bell made of patina brass $629 

Designed by Mrs. Forbes in the 1920's.
This bell is currently hanging at Mission San Miguel 
and the Olvera St. old adobe in L.A.
Proudly handcrafted in California 










"Mission Santa Barbara"

"Mission Santa Barbara"
Bell is 4" by 4" 
Both bell and hanger made of patina brass.
Designed by Mrs. Forbes in the 1920's.
This is original vintage stock made sometime 
between 1920 to 1955.
Text on front of bell is 
"Santa Barbara"
Proudly handcrafted in California
 
 

"California Bell"

"California Bell"
"8.25 tall by 8.25" wide
Available in patina brass or aluminum
$349 in patina brass. 

Designed by Mrs. Forbes in the 1920's.
Proudly handcrafted in California 
 

9" El Camino Real

 Guide Post Bell 
Yes we made these 
from 1914 to 1955!
We occasionally have these available.
 

Click Here for  Other Bells, Prices and Secure 
On-Line Ordering

Proudly handcrafted in California since 1906!
 

"Mission San Fernando 1797"

Designed by Mrs. A.S.C. Forbes 
and previously sold in mission gift shops, 
the 2 1/4" by  3" tall Mission San Fernando Bell .

Proudly handcrafted in California 
 

Click here to see our bells or to order!
 


 

Max Kurillo, Huell Howser, and John Kolstad
at KCET Television in Los Angeles

Max Kurillo (left),  historian  and author of
" The El Camino Real and It's Historic Bells"

Huell Howser (center) host of
" California's Gold" on PBS Television

John Kolstad, (right) owner of California Bell,

originators of the El Camino Real Bells

Order Huell's DVD $19.95, You Save $10
Now That's Amazing!
 
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Original 1906 El Camino Real Bell
Yes, we made them for Caltrans!

Get your own original El Camino Real Bell
for your backyard, hacienda, city main street, 
or point of historical interest.
$1,995 complete in cast iron. 
$2,795 complete in patina brass.
 

Finally after 100 years you can purchase 
an original El Camino Real Bell
Click here For More Bell Information!
 

Click Here for  Other Bells, Prices and Secure 
On-Line Ordering
 
 


 
 

Looking For Bells from 1" to 13"?
See our smaller vintage collectable and recast bell
 product list with photos
 
 

The El Camino Real and Its Historic Bells

In 1769, The El Camino Real, or Kings Highway, was just a footpath begun by the Franciscans and led by Father Junipero Serra who was a deciding influence in establishing the California Missions north from San Diego to Sonoma. Each Mission was situated in areas where large populations of indians lived and where the soil was fertile enough to sustain a settlement. As time progressed and more missions were built, the footpath became a roadway wide enough to accommodate horses and wagons. It was not, however, until the last Mission in Sonoma was completed in 1823, that this little pathway became a real route.

    El Camino Real is the Spanish name for the historic road that joined the twenty one Franciscan Missions, the Pueblos and Presidios in the early days of California. Many of the Missions have been restored and the Kings Highway now is a magnificent modern road leading from San Diego, via Rose Canon, to Oceanside, then inland to Mission San Luis Rey and Pall from Oceanside to Mission San Juan Capistrano, Myford-Irving, Tustin, Santa Ana, Orange, Anaheim, Fullerton, LA Habra, Whittier, Mission San Gabriel to El Monte, Puente, Pomona, Claremont, San Bernardino, Redlands, Colton and Riverside. 

    From Los Angeles El Camino Real leads to Hollywood, through Cahuenga Pass to Sherman Way thence to Mission San Fernando from Sherman Way to Calabasas, Camarillo, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Gaviota, Mission Santa Ines, Mission La Purisima, Los Olivos, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, San Miguel, Jolon, Mission San Antonio, Soledad, Salinas to Monterey and Mission Carmel, or from Salinas to Mission San Juan Bautista, San Jose, Mission San Jose, Hayward, San Leandro, to Oakland from San Jose to Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Mateo, Colombo, Ocean View, to Mission de los Dolores and San Francisco (Market and Third Streets). Across the bay, El Camino Real leads from San Rafael to Mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma.

    The greater portion of El Camino Real is Highway 101, a part of the splendid system of California highways, is a continuous road over seven hundred miles in length and is marked by the unique and picturesque Mission Bell Guideposts which originally gave distances between the principal towns and directions to the Missions. The bells are placed along the road not merely as landmarks and guides to travelers but as testimonials to the work of the Franciscan padres who were the pioneers that settled California beginning in 1769. 
The miniature bells sold in mission gift shops since 1914, are replicas of the hundreds of Mission Bell Guidepost Markers found along the El Camino Real. Some of the old inventory made from 1914 to 1955 is still available from California Bell. 

    The idea of placing a marker along the highway and in front of each Mission did not come about until August 15, 1906 when a cast iron 85 pound bell and piping designed by Mrs. A.S.C. Forbes was placed into the ground at the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles, also know as the Plaza Church near Union Depot in Los Angeles.

    The bells were inscribed, "El Camino Real 1769-1906." The dates reflect the founding of the first Mission in 1769 and the dedication of the first bell in Los Angeles on August 1906.

    The plan had been to place one bell along each mile of the El Camino Real Highway, in front of each Mission, and also selected historical landmarks. By 1913, a goal of 450 bells was reached. One bell was placed in front of each Mission and the balances were placed along the El Camino Real Highway. Since then many bells were lost to road reconstruction and theft. 

    After feeble attempts over the past 50 years, John Kolstad, now owner of Mrs. A.S.C. Forbes' original California Bell Company, and Keith Robinson, Principal Landscape Architect of Caltrans, have teamed together and installed 555 original El Camino Real Bells along Highway 101.  These bells have been installed on Caltrans property from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  California Bell is now working with cities to reinstall the original bells in the remaining areas of the original route.  From Sonoma to San Francisco, and Los Angeles to San Diego, new bells will be appearing along El Camino Real. Call your local City Manager for information on their installation progress. Click Here For Great Historical Photos
 
 

Contact us: 
California Bell Company
13600 Westover Dr. Saratoga, CA 95070-5136
 (408) 249-1000

Other Great Links: 

AAA Via Magazine; Bell Man of the El Camino Real; May 2008

Huell Howser's Pod Cast Of the El Camino Real Bells (coming soon)


"The Centennial Bell of Los Angeles"
Dedicated August 15, 2006 at Olvera St.
Click Here For Centennial Web page

Los Angeles Times 8-16-2006
(Coverage Of Our 100 Centennial Celebration at Olvera St.)

Los Gatos Eagle Scout Installs Bell 8-25-06
Burlingame Bell Thought Stolen Found In Storage 8-25-06
4th Grader's History Report Brings Upland A New Bell  3-3-06
Johnny Carson and Jack Webb - Copper Clappers Caper Video Clip (2 MB)
Los Angeles Times 12-23-2004
North County Times - Groups Work To Bring Historic Bells To Encinitas 
Maps and Photos of the Early Highway 101
San Francisco Chronicle Article 11-11-2004
El Camino Real Bell Dedicated
Saratoga News Article 11-03-04
California Mission Scholars
Father Jerimiah Murphy Assembly KoC
California's El Camino Real And It's Historic Bells by Kurillo and Tuttle
Gilroy Dispatch - Mission Bells Line Historic Route Through Gilroy
San Jose Mercury News - Mission Bells Going Up To Mark Historic Route
San Mateo Daily News 11-14-04
Encinitas Coast News 11-18-04
Ventura County Star 12-02-04
Rose Garden Resident 12-02-04
 
 

 "A Guide to the Historic Bells of Mrs. A.S.C. Forbes"
by Max Kurillo and Erline Tuttle
$15.95
Click Here for  Other Bells, Prices and Secure 
On-Line Ordering

"California's El Camino Real and It's Historic Bells"
by Max Kurillo and Erline Tuttle

Click Here for  Other Bells, Prices and Secure 
On-Line Ordering

Contact us: 
California Bell Company
13600 Westover Dr. 
Saratoga, Ca 95070-5136
 (408) 741-1549
Click here to email us

 


 
 
 

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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