"I looked for a bell, so that I might let the servants know I had finished"
Suitors scramble to save a woman the effort of having to pull a bell-pull, James Gillray, 1805
Public DomainSuitors scramble to save a woman the effort of having to pull a bell-pull, James Gillray, 1805 - Credit: US Library of Congress

In Victorian times, large houses often had a complicated network of bells and bell-pulls, so that the ladies and gentlemen of the house could summon servants when required. Each bell-pull connected to a certain bell in the servants’ area, so that the maids knew which room needed attention.