Cowbell from the Bellfounder Franz Moser (1858‒1938)

Cumbel, 1896

From 1828 until 1932, the Moser family made bells of high quality in their foundry in Obervaz. They belonged to the travelling ethnic group of the Yenish and, as «Störgiesser» [bellfounders performing their tasks in their customer’s homes], also cast bells for farmers.

Mobile dealers and craftsmen had an important role in rural society, since they supplied outlying farms with goods and services. From the 19th century onwards, however, the modern state increasingly combatted the travelling lifestyle. A particularly inhumane practice was the removal of children from their families by Pro Juventute’s «Hilfswerk für die Kinder der Landstrasse» [literally: relief organization for the children of the country road] that lasted from 1926 to 1973. A great number of those afflicted came from Graubünden.