How an El Camino Real Bell is made. Huell Howser visits with John Kolstad of California Bell Co. at the foundry. California Bell Co. is the originator of the 1906 El Camino Real Bell and other historic bells. Call us with questions. For more company and bell information visit us at our other website www.californiabell.com.
In 1998 John Kolstad wanted an original 1906 El Camino Real Bell for his backyard. None could be found. In 2000 John contacted Historian Max Kurillo who located the original company that had been dormant since 1960. John just wanted to buy a bell, but the 84 year old owner would only sell the company. So John bought the company, got his bell, and began rebuilding the company's historic legacy.
In 2002 John's passion led him to recast the original El Camino Real Bells and he began offering them to others who also loved the bells as much as he did. This was the first time El Camino Bells were ever offered to people for their private use. Yes, you can still buy one today. We also make smaller El Camino Real Bells for areas such as patios, smaller backyards, porches and patio posts.
Since 1906 we have made the original El Camino Real Bells used on California's highways by Caltrans, AAA, Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, California Federation of Women's Clubs, cities, counties, schools, missions, churches, and other points of interest. From 2004 to 2012 we made all the bells for Caltrans that you still see on the road today. Our bells are still made in California by Californians.