Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells New Collector! I need help with my first bell by A. Fulton Reply To: New Collector! I need help with my first bell by A. Fulton

Carolyn Whitlock

ABA Past President Rita Walker has also chimed in. She has asked me to post an image she found on page 52 of That Vanishing Sound by L. Elsinore Springer, Crown Publishers Inc., NY, 1976. Springer says, “…only one such company ever flourished in Pittsburgh. This was the Fulton Brass and Bell Foundry, dating back to 1832. Its long and colorful existence, through generations of Fultons, made the name almost a byword where steamboat, church, factory, and other bells were concerned in western Pennsylvania. The name was also preeminent throughout the South and West, as well as in distant lands, according to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tribute of 1859.

As early as 1835 a set of Fulton chimes received an award as the “finest sounding chimes,” but the firm’s greatest achievement came when it cast a two-ton tocsin for the Pittsburgh fire alarm system. This is undoubtedly the largest ever cast in the State of Pennsylvania. After years of service, its primary usefulness ended when the fire alarm system was modernized; then came the day in 1920 when its voice was heard for the very last time as it rang 1-8-4-5 strokes to mark the anniversary of Pittsburgh’s disastrous fire of 1845. Today the huge tocsin rests before the Historical Society Building – a proud but silent symbol of the city’s past.”

Now, in the picture that Rita sent, there is an advertisement for Andrew Fulton, Bell and Brass Founder, which appeared in the Pittsburgh City Directory for 1862. It is credited to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. It reads:

A. Fulton,
Bell and Brass Founder,
No. 70 Second Street, Pittsburgh
Chime Bells
Made to order. Counter Railings,
Brass Castings
Every variety finished in the neatest manner.
Anti Attrition Metal.

Patent Metalic
For Steam Cylinders.
Stop & Gauge Cocks
of all sizes for Steamboats
Mineral Water Punps

Brass for all kinds of oil turning,
He is prepared to furnish to order
Church, Steamboat, Factory & other Bells,
Of all sizes from 10 to 10,000 pounds
Also, all descriptions of fittings for oil wells and refineries.

In addition, the page shows a photograph with a caption that says:
“Cast by a Philadelphia founder who seems little known, this one-of-a-kind bell is inscribed in memory of Robert Fulton: T.W. Levering Fecit Philadelphia A. D. 1816. Now Fulton is gone. He is no more but he left his genius to carry us from shore to shore. Union Steamboat.”

I have just gone to Photobucket so I could add Rita’s picture but got a message saying the website is undergoing some maintenance so I can’t post it right now.