Years ago we bought an old mobile home, hauled it to a former pasture, and built half a house onto the back of it. That turned out to be a really good idea that let us avoid a ton of debt. But there's some things that old mobile homes don't have which regular houses do, and one of them is doorbells. It's hard to hear people knock on the front door now when you're in the back, which has led to horn blowing, cell-phone calling, and people walking all around the place yelling. It was time to get a doorbell.
Given a choice between a mechanical solution to a problem and an electric solution to a problem, I look real hard at the fine print. An electric doorbell meant wiring, with all its inherent problems. A "wireless" doorbell meant installing two devices and living with all the problems inherent with batteries. A mechanical bell would be cheaper, more durable, much less prone to breakdowns, involve less installation and look prettier. It looked like a winner all around.
This summer I got a cast iron doggy bell for my birthday. It's pretty, tough, installs without any major problems, works even when the lights don't, and it's loud. You can almost hear it in the next county. We put it up next to the front door in the traditional "doorbell" position.
The girls love ringing the bell. They delight in making it clang whenever they go in and out of the door. The problem is none of the adults will use it. They'll knock, blow their horns, call on their cell phones, and walk all around the place yelling, but they won't pull the bell-pull. We even had one couple leave thinking there was no one at home because we didn't hear them and they wouldn't ring the bell.
Sometimes I wonder about cultural conditioning in our society. Can people only recognize a doorbell when it comes as a tiny buzzer? Are they afraid they're going to break a cast iron bell by touching it? Do they think it's impossible for something to be gasp decorative and functional at the same time? We've thought about putting up a sign saying "please ring bell" but we're not sure if even that will work.
Eh, people. Sometimes you can't even call them intelligent apes. Apes are smarter than that.