Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Is it, or is it not a locomotive bell?? Re: Re: Is it, or is it not a locomotive bell??


On reviewing the set of 4 photos again, I concur with most of the argument made by stevezak. I’m not so certain that it was a mission bell. But what really convinces me that it was never a locomotive bell is the fact that the blacksmith-made rope lever is set at an angle, exactly as it would be for a bell intended to be rung by a person pulling on a dangling rope. For a locomotive bell, the lever would be vertical for attachment of a horizontal rope to the engineer’s cab.

The stepped straight lip and the tripartite bead at the turning point below the waist (and probably also above the shoulder) strongly suggest that the bell was made by a conventional bell foundry in America. The tang-and-cross-pin mounting suggest mid-19th century or earlier. I would expect a photo of the inside to show a cast-in crown staple from which the clapper hangs, and most likely the clapper is also blacksmith-made.

A mission bell is a possibility; but if that were the case then I’d expect it to have carried religious decoration. It could also have been used a plantation bell, or at a major trading post, or for a variety of other purposes. Regardless, it’s a very nice old artifact.