California Bell Company since 1906
is also know as 
El Camino Bell Company

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

Wish to order or have a question? Call us at (408) 741-1549 or click here to email us

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

 Our 2023 FREE SHIPPING Road Trip may happen in July or August.
Here's how it works.  Our delivery truck may be traveling from San Francisco to San Diego.
If you are located along the route for that trip and can take delivery when we drive by, the shipping in your pre-order is free.
*Call for details and the coupon code if ordering free shipping on line.

Click here for our MORE Bells, Parts, Prices and Secure On-Line Ordering or call Us

Check Here to See the Video                                                     Click Here To See the Video
"How We Make Bells" at the Foundry.                                  "Bell Tones", the sounds of our bells.

Click Here To Buy Your Own El Camino Real Bell.

Click Here for 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

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. 
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 bronze.

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 bronze, and aluminum. 
Produced from Mrs. Forbes original pattern of the 1920's.
Proudly handcrafted in California.

Click Here for 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 bronze 
Optional bracket available.

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

5" Patina Bronze 
El Camino Real Bell
with Bracket

"El Camino Real Bell and bracket"
Cast Patina Bronze Bell is 5 1/2 " tall and 5" wide
and comes with a bracket.
 Bell in this photo is painted.
The photo will be updated soon
Designed by Mrs. Forbes in the 1906.
Text on front of bell is 
1769 & 1906
El Camino Real Bell
On the back is "Copyright 1906 Forbes" 
Proudly handcrafted in California

"California Bell"

"California Bell"
Bell is 8.25" tall by 8.25" wide
Optional bracket available.

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!
9" El Camino Real Desk Bell
We occasionally have these old vintage bells
available as we find them in the old inventory.
This bell is made of patina bronze.
Patina can vary due to the bell's old age.

Click Here for 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 .
These small mission bells were made for each mission.
Proudly handcrafted in California 

Click here to see some our other bells!


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" at Chapman University
Watch the entire episode for Huell's 
El Camino Reals Bells 

John Kolstad, (right) owner of California Bell,

originators of the El Camino Real Bells
Now That's Amazing!
August 15, 2006
Centennial Celebration
Highway Bells  1906 Forbes
Highway Bells
1963 Kramer
Photo Gallery
Do You Have 
A Bell?
Resort Bells


Original 1906 El Camino Real Bell
Yes, we made them for Caltrans and now you can purchase one!

Get your own original 1906 El Camino Real Bell
for your backyard, hacienda, city main street, 
or point of historical interest.
 Caltrans Rust or  Verde Green painted bell comes with staff , lower pipe and all connectors shown. 
 Bell is also made in Verde Patina Bronze with staff, lower pipe  and all connectors.
Bells also alone can also be purchased

Finally after 100 years you can purchase 
an original El Camino Real Bell
Click here to order your  El Camino Bell


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 585 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) 741-1459

Other Great Links: 

Huell Howser's Full Video "The Bells of the El Camino Real. Of the El Camino Real Bells
"The Centennial Bell of Los Angeles" Dedicated August 15, 2006 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
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
Saratoga News Article 11-03-04
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

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

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





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