Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells 26" Bell. Please help me identify it.

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    • #11413
      blacksmith
      Participant

      Hi everybody. My teacher asked for help in identifying a large bell he just brought back from Auburn Washington. It’s 26″ in diameter at the base and weighs about 185-190 lbs. It’s made of cast iron that someone painted in a bronze like color. We are getting ready to take it to a Blacksmith’s conference and I told him that I would see if you guys could identify it for him.

      The only writing on the outside of the bell is the number “26” at the top. There are also four little bumps about the size of BB’s cast into the top in four groups. The inside of the bell has “1903” followed by “21” cast on the inside. Hope this helps. That’s all the writing we could find on it.

      Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • #15721
      jackbell
      Participant

      Your bell is cast steel. Twenty-six is the size (bottom dia in inches). 1903 probably indicates the year. Twenty-one might indicate Feb 1 (2-1). Unfortunately, all other components (clapper, yoke, wheel, supports) are missing. From the design I’d say it was cast by CS Bell Co of Hillsboro, Ohio. That foundry dated it’s larger bells on the interior, not consistently, but off and on throughout it’s history. There’s plenty of information about CS Bell Co on the internet and our own search (upper right corner). It was a major producer and it’s bells are found world-wide.

    • #15722
      blacksmith
      Participant

      Hi jackbell, thank you for the quick reply. After searching images of CS bell’s I agree, it sure looks like it was made by them. I double checked and sadly the yoke, a-frames and wheel are not at the location where he got the bell. I found a source for a yoke, but it’s pricey and would end up over $200 after shipping. We could make all of the pcs. out of iron and it would work, but it would not look as nice as the cast pcs. I have a feeling that finding an old set of parts for a CS #26 would be like finding a needle in a haystack.

      Thank you again for your help!

    • #15720
      jackbell
      Participant

      I sold a cracked 26″ Hillsboro bell last year with all components on eBay for $300 so finding them is not impossible. The buyer purchased it for parts. CS cast hundreds of thousands of bells during it’s long run and they are probably the most plentiful still around. Suspend your bell from a four by four or six by six wood post (like a mission bell) using a large eyebolt. A good machine shop can fashion a clapper. The ball should be about 4 inches in dia with a ring on the bottom for tying a rope. The worn area on the bell’s interior will indicate where the clapper should strike. You won’t have a swinging bell but it will be functional and display nicely. Also, suspend it from a chain and tap it with a hammer to test the sound. It looks fine in the photos but even a hard-to-see hairline crack will ruin it and you won’t need to invest in the clapper. You will know from the dull thud if it is cracked. Perhaps it is and that’s why the other components were salvaged. There are a lot more cracked bronze bells than steel ones. That was a selling point, along with being cheaper, for steel foundries such as CS.

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