Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Antique Goulds Cast Iron Bell

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    • #24870
      stonehouse
      Member

      I am in the process of refurbishing an old cast iron bell. It is all original..including the original clapper. It has three pieces; bell, yoke and cradle. The cradle has a small ledge and three bolt holes. It is made to be mounted on a post. All three pieces are marked with the raised number 23. The yoke has the additional raised letters “In”. The cradle is marked in raised letters “The Goulds Mfg. Co. Seneca Falls NY”. The bell bottom is about 22 inches in diameter and the top is about 6 inches in diameter. The bell height is about 11 inches. (just the bell…does not included the attached yoke). It seems a little out of proportion compared to other bells I’ve seen…that is, it seems a little “squatty” The top diameter is small compared to the bottom diameter. I am looking for any information someone might be able to provide…was this bell intended as a farm bell…school bell….fire bell…church bell? What might be the approximate age? Aside from surface pitting, all the pieces are in good shape with no cracks or signs of previous repairs. Any information would be much appreciated.

    • #24871
      kcoonen
      Participant

      Your Goulds was most likely sold as a school bell, though it’s the largest I have seen in a pole mounted, upright swung school bell! Twenty inch specimens are more common, and larger diameter bells are commonly swung in “A” shaped belfry stands.
      In our re-assembly of our collection of 12″- 36″ bells we recently purchased a Goulds 33″ with a six serpentine spoked wheel and adjustable yoke! We had not seen a 33″ before, only increments of 2″. Like ours, yours has the number on the left side of the main yoke bolt, and “In” for inches, on the right side. That the number and the actual diameter don’t match is due to cooling shrinkage after casting, the mold starts as the size cast into the bell and yoke. The proportions are indicative of an older bell bowl, perhaps pre 1870 is my guess, as later bell bowls had taller, more narrow profiles, at least in the more prolific cast iron bells of CS BELL. Goulds made their mark with pumps I believe, but produced bells even before Bell. Our example has heavy, refined castings and a beautiful ring.
      A photo of your 23 hung in the upright would be great, then we could post our 33 for comparison.
      Sandblasting is the ultimate clean up , though it also robs definition and texture of the original casting. Wire wheel on a drill works well though. Ours is clean enough to wire brush and treat with an oil finish on the bare steel.. Others we have painted starting with machinery primer. Which ever technique and finish you choose remember before an after photos to share!
      Enjoy!
      KC

    • #24874
      stonehouse
      Member

      Thank you for the information. I made a mistake in my original posting. The three pieces are marked with the number 21, not 23. Also, the bottom diameter is 20 1/2 inches, not 22. All the other dimensions remain the same as in my original posting. I had the pieces (including the inside of the bell) lightly sandblasted to remove the surface rust. I brush painted all pieces with a Rustoleum oil base metal primer and then brushed on two coats of Rustoleum oil base satin black enamel. I have attached three photos of my work in progress. Unfortunately, I did not take any “before” pictures. With the correct size now confirmed as “21”, do you still think it is a school bell? Also, in viewing the shape from the photos, do you still place the age in the 1870 era?

    • #24875
      stonehouse
      Member

      I see that my photos are too large for the forum site. I will re-size them and send them in a later post

    • #24876
      stonehouse
      Member

      The three photos (resized) are attached that I reference in my above post.

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    • #24880
      kcoonen
      Participant

      Yup! That’s a more typical school bell, perhaps a dinner bell, with so-called “goalpost” upright. Thousands of that style were made by Goulds and many still ring today.
      Goulds Mfg Co began using that name in 1864 after the Civil War and made pumps.
      That bowl shape changed proportions to taller with wider tops pretty uniformly throughout the bell industry shortly after the War also. Search “Goulds” here to find
      Neil Goepplingers’ research and commentary to that effect as he is THE authority on bells.
      So I’ll stick with my guess of pre ’70 and post ’64, though the smaller bells may have been cast that way for some time, even as large church bells gained sound quality with height and top diameter changes. Our 33 is more like the earlier proportions but not so extreme and the sound is equal to or better than some later bells in our collection. It is so recent to our collection, I do not have photos yet, and also forgot “before”, and can’t find the listing photos I saved…
      Your restoration is about as good as it gets.
      Well done! Mount it, ring it, and enjoy.
      KC

    • #24881
      stonehouse
      Member

      Thanks again for the background info. I just registered at this forum site yesterday and am not familiar with all its side links. You recommended that I search “GOULDS” on the site…how do I do that?

    • #24882
      kcoonen
      Participant

      Go to “forums” for a search window near the top right side.

    • #24994
      nightflier51
      Participant

      I have a Goulds no33 with original yoke and clapper. The stands are McShanes uprights. It has a beautiful. Did you know that Rumsey & Co had the same contours and shape on their No 8 church bell? Its a twin to the no 33.

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