Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Metal Bells Bronze dinner bell–please help identify

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    • #27056

      Any help would be much appreciated. I am trying to identify what type of bell is pictured below. It is about 7″ tall with a diameter of 4.5″. The bronze is about 9/16″ in the thick part. Maybe an antique Perko?

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    • #27211


      Nice bell!

      (Here are some general ‘rules’ I use for these bells, remembering always that ‘rules are made to be broken’ in some cases!)

      My thoughts:

      What you appear to have is a vintage style ship’s bell. Below I show two images. The first is a typical Perko bell (used in lighthouses for example). Note the skirt structure that differs from yours. I don’t think it’s your bell.

      The second is a typical vintage ship’s bell design on a newer bracket (than yours). Looks much closer to your bell’s design! This size/design appears to have been used on small craft (tugs etc.) or as secondary or ‘lookout’ bells on larger ships. according to the research I have done.

      It would be good to get some additional photos of the inside as well. It helps in identifying things.

      The bracket appears to be more vintage than old. Older ones usually appear to have a more rounded curving loop than yours. Older straight arm brackets were typically round in cross section while newer ones are flat or I shaped in cross section. At least that’s what I have seen!

      Ship’s bells mounted in two primary ways:

      1) Like yours, with a bolt in the middle going through the support arm and secured with a Nut on top. Older bells typically seem to have a longer ‘neck’ between the bell and the arm. This design is older but the bell would ring by itself more often in heavy seas. (Bell swings back and forth with the ship, but conservation of momentum rules dictates that the clapper would try and stay still – so the bell would swing into the clapper!)

      2) a flat Tang that allows the bell to be pinned to the supporting arm or a removable U bolt type link. This allows the bell and clapper combination to swing more freely in heavy seas, preventing erroneous ringing from the bell. Remember that these are used for signalling, so you don’t want distracting ‘nonsense rings’ from them! (see third photo)

      Yes it is bronze:
      Bronze is a mixture of about 90% copper and 10% tin. It’s darker than copper, and the color is less warm. In fact, bronze turns green when it oxidizes. Dark bronze can look almost chocolatey.
      Notice the colors of yours!

      Enjoy it! Bet it sounds loud! I hope this helps in your research.

      Garry (a land locked, never been on a ship, bell collector! <grin>)

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