Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums General `Bell Stuff` Bell has no Markings? Need help in identifying

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    • #12240
      Rudy Valdez
      Participant

      I am interested in if anyone can help me identify this old bell from Northern Mexico:

      Recently I visited my father in Nogales Arizona, He has had an old bell he found in Northern Mexico a long time ago when I was 5 years old, I am 55 years old now. It had been laying around for a long time. He gave it to me and I brought it to California. I asked my dad about the bell and he said it was an old lost bell from the mission in Ures, Sonora. He told me that the Mexican government began to burn Catholic churches in Mexico (1912) to separate the church from the state. The old mission was going to be burned and the locals (my family), hid the bell. The relative that hid the bell was killed during the revolution and the whereabouts of the bell, were lost. People (family) had looked for this bell for a long time. My dad was in the US Navy and he bought a Metal Detector. On one of his trips to the family ranch he took the metal detector with him. He was fortunate to find the bell in the family cook out pit! Instead of turning over the bell to the local government (corrupt at that time), he brought it home to Nogales.The bell has no markings and it looks like the rim of the bell is a different metal? It has a nice sounding ring to it. I also made a bell clapper for the bell, the old one is gone and there are marks on the bell from dad striking it to make it ring at home where it was at.

      • Height from rim to top and weight of the bell
      The bell weighs 78 Lbs, and is 12.5 inches tall.

      • Diameter of the bottom of the skirt
      The bell measures at diameter base (lip) 13 1/4 inches

      • Writing or engraving on the bell
      No marking at all?

      • Material from which the bell was made
      Looks like brass and bottom lip is a different metal it looks shiner that body of bell, look at pictures.

      Thanks Rudy Valdez

    • #17436
      Carolyn Whitlock
      Participant

      Dear Rudy,

      My response won’t help you identify your bell but I want to thank you for sharing this fascinating story with us and for including the pictures of your bell! You have given a great example of why we find bells so attractive! Many have terrific stories that go with them!

      I agree that your bell’s handle (hanging mechanism) is of a different material from the bell itself. I doubt it is original to the bell. If that’s true, then your bell is a “one of a kind” because of the handle and the clapper being added after the bell was born! I’m glad to hear you have made a clapper for it!

      Regardless of whether you are able to identify the bell’s maker, it’s a treasure. You know where it came from and its purpose. You know it is at least 50 years old (and probably a lot older, but that’s speculation on my part). You know it has been in your family, which rescued it from destruction. You’ve got a fantastic heirloom! Enjoy it and cherish it!

      Jus’ my opinion!

    • #17437
      Willie B. Herd
      Participant

      Hi Rudy, IMO, the bell is made of the same material throughout, (as all cast bells are). The inside view does make it appear to be made of 2 different materials…but the discoloration could have been caused by the different soil layers, (and ashes) it was buried in. (Maybe the dirt only made contact w/ inside of bell up a few inches from bottom.) It looks to be made of brass…possibly w/ a very low zinc content, another possibility is it’s made of 100% copper, (which is not as hard).

      Great story, maybe just go with it. 💡

      Ures and other churches in the area are a good place to start researching.

    • #17438
      Garry
      Participant

      Wow! make sure you document all that (especially any photos!) and keep it with the bell!
      It provides a great history for it and certainly enhances it’s interest – especially as a family piece (you want later generations to value it too)!
      It’s great to actually see a real mission bell, rather than the fakes out there.

      You can see the ring inside where the clapper rubbed and again on the bottom lip where it rubbed while it sat on/in the ground (likely you found it sitting upright?). Being in the fire pit, if any water/liquids were poured into it (i.e. rain, leftover drinks etc.), then the acidic nature of the ashes leaching out would likely cause some of the tarnishing and corrosion you observe. The clapper would likely be of iron so you would see rust where it attached before it corroded away.

      You might try old church records from the immediate area where you found the bell to determine which mission it belonged to. Try for records in both Spain and England. It’s a long shot but you never know…

      Wonderful find!
      Garry

    • #17439
      Rudy Valdez
      Participant

      gmiddleton, My dad called down south (Mexico) and asked them what church the bell came from and he was told it came from the Jesuit Mission known as ” San Miguel de Horcasitas”

    • #17440
      Garry
      Participant

      What a fantastic piece of information to get!
      If you google San Miguel de Horcasitas Mexico, you will see quite a bit of information as well as photographs of the site!
      I would print this and keep it with the bell!

      Way to go!

      Garry

    • #17441
      PattiHych23
      Member

      @Rudy Valdez wrote:

      I am interested in if anyone can help me identify this old bell from Northern Mexico:

      Recently I visited my father in Nogales Arizona, He has had an old bell he found in Northern Mexico a long time ago when I was 5 years old, I am 55 years old now. It had been laying around for a long time. He gave it to me and I brought it to California. I asked my dad about the bell and he said it was an old lost bell from the mission in Ures, Sonora. He told me that the Mexican government began to burn Catholic churches in Mexico (1912) to separate the church from the state. The old mission was going to be burned and the locals (my family), hid the bell. The relative that hid the bell was killed during the revolution and the whereabouts of the bell, were lost. People (family) had looked for this bell for a long time. My dad was in the US Navy and he bought a Metal Detector. On one of his trips to the family ranch he took the metal detector with him. He was fortunate to find the bell in the family cook out pit! Instead of turning over the bell to the local government (corrupt at that time), he brought it home to Nogales.The bell has no markings and it looks like the rim of the bell is a different metal? It has a nice sounding ring to it. I also made a bell clapper for the bell, the old one is gone and there are marks on the bell from dad striking it to make it ring at home where it was at.

      • Height from rim to top and weight of the bell
      The bell weighs 78 Lbs, and is 12.5 inches tall.

      • Diameter of the bottom of the skirt
      The bell measures at diameter base (lip) 13 1/4 inches

      • Writing or engraving on the bell
      No marking at all?

      • Material from which the bell was made
      Looks like brass and bottom lip is a different metal it looks shiner that body of bell, look at pictures.

      Thanks Rudy Valdez

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