What a neat old bell. Wonder what it was used for.
It is a dinner bell. When communication across a community or farm was necessary, the people at the house (usually the women) rang the dinner bell. Nearly every old Appalachian farm had one prior to about WW II. They would be rung to bring the field hands in for dinner and also for fires and other danger such as Indian raids, rattle snakes, rabid animals, etc. There are reproductions around made in the last 50 years. But the authentic ones always sell well at auctions, estate sales, etc.