Bell of Mystery from Alaska
July 2, 2017 at 12:17 am #25579bellmysteryParticipant
When I was a kid in Alaska, my mother used to ring a large bell when she wanted us kids to come in from play. This was back in the 1970s, and now the bell is a part of our inheritance. None of us know for sure quite how she came by it. For years I was sure it came off a train that used to run from copper mines into Cordova on the Copper River and Northwestern Railroad. However, we don’t actually know if this is true as none of us specifically recall being told this, and none of us know for sure when it appeared in the yard. I’ve read a bit on that railroad, and it seems that perhaps the actual locomotive engine was removed from the Cordova area for use on a different line; if so, wouldn’t the bell have gone with it? So maybe it’s not a train bell at all.
Adding to the mystery is the fact that they drove all over Alaska and that a family friend thinks it had some special significance, possibly given as a gift.
At one point, sitting a thousand miles from the bell and unable to measure it, I was able to listen to bell rings online and correctly determined that it is 17″ — the sound was so well-remembered.
All of which is to say, if anyone knows how to determine if it’s a train bell or a school bell or…whatever other kind of 17″ bells there are in the world…I’d love to hear from you.
- This topic was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by bellmystery. Reason: photos didn't work
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July 2, 2017 at 1:59 am #25582nightflier51Participant
Its a train bell. I have a 15 inch brass one. Mine had been used on a small school for years until the school board gave it to a high school for a glass show case. They decided to let a local music club have it and when the club closed, a friend gave it to me. Yours definatly is a dandy and worth several thousand dollars.
July 2, 2017 at 10:16 am #25586bellmysteryParticipant
Thanks! I think we’ll definitely pay to get it officially appraised then. I do love it as it was a part of childhood, but if it’s that much money we’ll probably auction it off since there are four of us and inheritance is complicated. It would be easier if it weren’t valuable.
I read your post about the bell in the attic, very interesting!
July 4, 2017 at 4:31 pm #25588nightflier51Participant
Hi I have seen them from 3 to 5000 dollars with all the original parts. I’m not an appraiser but that’s what I have seen. My bell has a replacement cradle made of thick bent steel but I was told it was from around 1860s. I think the railroad probably donated to one of the one room schools that use to be in the 1800s here. Yes the cat calling bell up in the attic It has louvers similar to a steeple and the sound can get out. I also have anold building with a steeple and a No 4 Cs Bell co bell in it also.s3
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