ANTIQUE SHIP BELL? Looking for info, age etc.
January 7, 2013 at 6:17 pm #11946
I have what I believe is a ship’s bell. It is 9.75 inches tall. 7-1/8 inch wide diameter at bottom. Hand engraved “GLOBUS”, no other markings. Weighs about 10 lbs. Green patina, brass? (magnet does not stick to it). I have tried to research Globus and I came up with two ships, an emigrant ship from 1861 and a german boat: Lyng SS (which was renamed GLOBUS in 1923 owned by Johannes Ick GmbH, Hamburg, A Kil class gunboat built as the KILBERRY for the Royal Navy, Launch Date: 02/07/1918) And of course could be from a different ship or a person? Would appreciate it if you give me an idea of age? manufacture/type of bell info? any history? a ballpark value? Thank You
January 8, 2013 at 7:39 pm #16728hjlongMember
This is a bronze bell and could be a nautical bell. The engraving is hand cut and is not typical of a Naval vessel. The bracket is either not original or has been repaired as the crossbar is not original. The casting of the bracket is light weight and more typical of a patio bell and would not sustain the trauma of a deck bell on a ship. My guess is that this is a nautical bell from a private vessel and that the bracket was pieced together from scrap parts.
Harry Long, MD
January 8, 2013 at 8:17 pm #16729
Yes we added to bracket support as we did hang the bell outside. So I am mostly interested in the origins and possibilities for the bell itself. Do appreciate your insight and reply.
January 10, 2013 at 2:13 pm #16730
I was interested to note your magnet test; to quote myself in another discussion where I am trying to help identify a bell; “you said the magnet doesn’t stick. Did you use a rare earth (strong) magnet? Your regular fridge magnet only has a low field strength. My reasoning is that Bronze is more typically used for marine fittings (see http://www.diffen.com/difference/Brass_vs_Bronze for example) as it is more resistant to corrosion over time. Bronze is an alloy of TIN and copper, so should be weakly magnetic. (Brass is Zinc and Copper so no magnetism).” … ” Greenish (copper oxide) Grey (tin) suggests Bronze as well (Zinc oxidizes white).”
The mounting point, as you know, is modified, but the original tang type mount makes the bell likely to be an early one. The size is actually a bit small for a ship – those tended to be about double the size, so I suspect you are looking at a smaller coastal type vessel as Harry suggests. A fishing vessel comes to mind. They tended to be just large enough to carry small dories and would need a bell like this for communication.
Do you have any hints as to history? For example where did you get it? East Coast, West Coast, England, America? That might give an idea.
January 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm #16731
The magnet used was stronger than a fridge magnet but I am going to see try to get or borrow a stronger magnet. We have various copper items that we collect and we did like the bell because of the copper oxide patina. I don’t have any history on its origins or age but it was thought to be from a vessel of some sort. As mentioned in original post I have been trying to do some research on “GLOBUS”, but there are many possibilities especially since it is hand engraved. You mention it is likely to be an early bell because of the tang-type mount would you have an estimated time frame? Thank you for your post and added insight into this bell. Donna
January 23, 2013 at 2:47 pm #16732
Unfortunately there is no ‘hard and fast’ rule on the bell designs. They tended to be phased in over time as one style loses favor and another becomes dominant.
Basically the Tang style mounting is one of the two earliest that I have found (the other, for larger bells, being the double loop ‘crown’ style). This style was used because it was easier to pour in a mold (bolt mounts had to be drilled and tapped – easier to replace/fix but higher initial cost) and were simply pinned. Smaller boat bells are still made this way.
While the ‘concept’ of the bolt dates back to the 1600’s (mostly wooden examples) they really didn’t become ‘mass produced’ until the first world war. So sometime between the first and second world wars the bells started morphing into a different attachment type. This was accelerated, apparently, by the advent of the locomotive. The Tang method did not seem to be stable enough it appears (probably ringing too much when it swings) so a different mount and mounting system was devised. I suspect that was the turning point, since bell makers had to tool up for the rail industry anyway, why produced two different types of mounts and have two different production lines? The bolted bell would work for the ships as well as the trains, they just used a different style of hanger.
Hopefully this musing helps!
January 27, 2013 at 7:22 pm #16733huge bellParticipant
just a follow up on the bronze quote.
Good bells are made of Bell Bronze. 80% copper 20% tin and some time 78 22
and a magnet will not stick to the tin.
February 9, 2013 at 9:01 pm #16734
True, but remember that we are not looking for it to snap to the side, but rather for it to seem to be ‘sticky’ (you feel the slight/weak tug) with the strong magnet.
While it certainly is not a ‘definitive’ test, it’s the only one that I have found that does not involve damage to the bell (chemical tests or sending a bit of it for metallurgical analysis). Plus it’s an easy test for an average person to do. While I wouldn’t say that the absence of the magnetism rules the bell one way or the other, a positive test result probably does!
Many of the older bells aren’t that ‘fussy’ in their content anyway, from what I have found. It seems that while a specific manufacturer back then might be more or less consistent in their content (bearing availability of raw materials), the formulations between manufacturers were more tightly held as proprietary back then (with little regulation and even less enforcement!) so were somewhat different. After all that’s also why you get a lot of makers back then faking the marks of the ‘quality’ manufacturers, the Hemoney bells probably being the most familiar case. They couldn’t find a good formulation, or didn’t want the expense of doing it right, or perhaps couldn’t get the metal supplies needed, so they built what they could and basically lied to sell them!
You are absolutely correct in that newer ones tend to be a lot more uniform as you describe though. Quality control and regulation/inspection etc. takes care of that, but really only came to be common in the early to mid 1900’s though, i believe.
Hope this explanation helps!
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