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Colonial Bell – much has appeared on this topic, and it is now time to pool our collective information. Marie has agreed to write an article for The Bell Tower and I will assist in collecting information. All contributors will be acknowledged but no specific information will be published on just who owns which bell(s). Once it appears, a summary of results will also be posted here.

It has been mentioned that apparently the bells were available in three sizes – 4″, 4 1/2″, and 5″ diameter measured across the mouth of the bell. We would like to know if any other sizes have been encountered.

Two clappers are known, one that is described as a ball or disk (see picture), and another described as a cross, cross-tongue, or star. I shall refer to these as ball or cross. Marie and I think that the ball clapper was used on the 4″ bells and the cross clapper on the 4 1/2″ and 5″ bells. Again, please make a special note of any variations to this pattern.

Marie has seen dates ranging from 1909 – 1930. She thinks initial production was high, was reduced in the WW1 years of 1916 – 1919, then high production again, and finally a second reduction. Whether we can verify this depends on the number of responses that we receive from readers. We know there are many of these bells out there, and every response is important, so please assist us as much as possible.

Most bells have pairs of dates of the form 1832 – 19xx. However, she has seen some with a date of 1837 instead of 1832, and we would like very much to know just when these appeared.

I have five of these bells in various dates and sizes and Marie has quite a few more. The horizontal band in which the inscription appears has what I would describe as a “pebbled” composition, while I would describe the remainder of the bell as “smooth” and much like other animal bells of this era. However, Marie has a Bevin catalog which says that the bell was available in a choice of surfaces (and prices) – rough, rough with turned edge, polished, and tinned. We must assume that all of ours are “rough” though that is a subjective description since we have no definitive examples of the second and third varieties. The last “tinned” or tin-plated variety might look shiny as a nickel-plated surface would, though how much of the plating might remain after 80-100 years is unknown.

In order not to clutter up this link unnecessarily, please send the following information to alanburgdorf@hotmail.com
I will compile the basic information in table form, and pass specific information to Marie. For each of your bells I would like to know:

1) Diameter of the mouth of this bell, probably 4″, 4 1/2″ or 5″. Please note any variations.
2) Dates on this bell, probably 1832 – 19xx. Please specifically note 1837 if encountered.
3) Type of clapper – ball or cross.
4) Surface, if specifically known to be anything other than “rough.”

Thus, the basic information transmitted might be like (4 1/2″, 1832-1911, cross), (4″, 1832-1915, ball), etc. If you have any other specific and verifiable information to add, please send that as additional notes.

Puritan Bell – this has been discussed briefly in a separate link and seems to be related to the Colonial bell
but very little is known about these bells. One difference seems to be that the Colonial bell has a brass loop and the Puritan bell has an iron loop. I have seen one in a 4″ size with a ball clapper and a 5″ size is mentioned with a cross clapper. Some are said to have a 1492 date, and others with a 1622 (or 1822) date. Perhaps they have both dates, or different dates. If you have specific information about a Puritan bell, then please pass that along also and we may try to incorporate it in this article.