Bell Detectives needed!!
May 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm #12402bahhhooParticipant
I have a locomotive bell that has been in our family for generations. Grandfather got this somewhere in the Waukegan, Chicago area back in the 50’s. My parents used it for a time in the 70’s to call us home for dinner, til someone tried to steal it. Then it sat for 35 years in the garage til I finally inherited it and proudly displaying it in front of our house today.
I would like to get some history on it. I have searched the web which led me to here. The bell, I believe is bronze. It has a 17in diameter and a height around 16 inches. Has some codes on the top (see picture): 24199 89832. Any ideas on the Railroad?? Thanks in advance for your time. -al
May 7, 2014 at 11:29 pm #17766
May 9, 2014 at 7:15 pm #17767sunlanderParticipant
The numbers cast on the yoke are pattern numbers, identifying the pattern of the casting. It does not refer to any particular railroad nor locomotive. If someone has a bell with the same numbers and knows its history there could be a connection – knowing the manufacturer.
Sometimes (rarely) the railroad stamped the locomotive’s number either on the top of the bell (where it may be hidden by the yoke), or inside the bell. It was not a common practice for railroads to mark the bells with their initials.
For many years the Baldwin Locomotive Works stamped numbers on the bell in a code that could be deciphered to identify the locomotive.
My suggestion is to look carefully all over the bell, inside and out, to see if any stamped numbers are present. However, many such bells have no identifying markings and unless the provenance is known, there is no way of identifying the origin.
I bet your bell sounds sweet!!! Teddy.
May 9, 2014 at 7:50 pm #17768bahhhooParticipant
Thanks Teddy (and Carolyn) for the info. Sort of bummed though… I will check the bell out again for any other markings, but I am pretty sure there are none.
Thanks again -al
May 14, 2014 at 2:10 pm #17769Willie B. HerdParticipant
It’s made of Brass. The 17″ base diameter is the largest size, and would’ve been installed on a very large locomotive. Possibly on a ‘Bigboy’ or the ‘Challenger’ locomotive.
As mentioned, the #’s on the yoke may help you in your research…and most likely is a code used by the foundry.
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