Richard Mueller, Jr.
The Gong Bell Manufacturing Company was established as a partnership in 1866 by H. H. Abbe, E. C. Barton, E. G. Cone and A. H. Conklin to produce bells and toys. Gong Bell antique toys are more limited than some brands as the company was not in existence past the 1960s.
The company was incorporated under the laws of the state of Connecticut in April 1899. In 1872, Barton patented a toy called “Revolving Chimes” described as “a pair of cast brass gongs, mounted between two malleable iron wheels.” This was the beginning of Gong Bell’s toy making history. The company also manufactured the first foot bell ever used on automobiles.
After re-organization in 1921, Gong Bell introduces one of the most successful toys invented at the time. It was a toy telephone with a bell and movable receiver hook. This was also the time Gong Bell started concentrating on its wooden toy future. During World War II, the Gong Bell Mfg. Co. also took on military contracts to make hardware for parachutes.
It is believed that with the introduction of plastics in toy making, the Gong Bell Mfg. Co. could not complete since their toys were made mostly of wood and metal, thus closing the company in the 60’s.
There are few collectors of Gong Bell made toys. Most collectors who have Gong Bell antique toys in their collection have them because they fit into their category of interest.