Re: Re: Large Steam Ship Bell
There were no steamships on the Ohio River. It was only navigable for steamboats. Based on the large size of your bell and the 1902 vintage, it probably came from a paddlewheel riverboat. Chaplin was the late name of its predecessor,the Andrew Fulton Bell Foundry of Pittsburgh, which cast bells for riverboats, fire stations, schools and churches. The company started in the 1820s as Andrew Fulton Bell Foundry, then A. Fulton & Sons, A. Fulton Sons, Fulton & Chaplin, and finally Chaplin in the early 1900s. It closed in the 1920s. These are beautiful bronze bells and highly prized by collectors. The larger bells had a characteristic crown that mounted flush to the yoke and allowed the bell to rotate so that the strike surface would vary and avoid wear in a single site. Unless the bell has the name of the steamboat on it, it is unlikely that you will be able to trace its origins.
Harry Long, MD