Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Buckeye Bell/Vanduzen & Tift

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    • #11161
      mmitchell
      Participant

      I am the Service Director for Copley Township in Ohio. Our present Town Hall is an old school house that was built in 1904. The building had a bell tower on the roof with a Buckeye Bell. Years ago the bell and tower were removed from the building (we don’t know why) and the bell was placed on the sign in front of town hall. We are in the process of reinstalling the tower and bell back on the roof. The bell has been removed from the sign and we are in the process of rebuilding the A-frames (due to deterioration) and reinstalling the original clapper and wheel, which both were removed when the bell was taken down. Thankfully, our Historical Society saved those pieces. The bell was cast in 1880, measures 22″ at the bell rim and 16″ tall, and weighs 180 lbs. We are going to have a rededication ceremony when the project is complete and invite our residents. We want the oldest person living in Copley (who used to drive the horse-drawn buggys to pick up school children) to ring the bell at that ceremony. My trustees have asked me whether the bell can even be rang and so I’m putting that question out to anyone who can help me. Can this bell be rang without fear it will crack or fall apart? We’d also like to be able to ring it on special occasions. Also, is there any way to determine what its tone is on a music scale?

    • #14719
      hjlong3
      Participant

      If the bell has not developed hairline cracks, it can probably be rung. Remember that metal fatigue results in crystallization of the bronze and the bell should not be rigorously rung without risk of cracking. Gently ringing it should not be a problem. It should probably not be rung in extremely cold weather, either.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #14720
      mmitchell
      Participant

      Thank you for your response. It bell has no hairline cracks and appears in excellent condition considering its age. It has sat on the sign in front of our Town Hall for many years without the ability to be rung so that’s why I was inquiring about it. We will ring it gently at our ceremony and maybe once or twice a year at the most for other occasions. We will not ring it in extreme cold either per your recommendation. One more thing – how do I go about cleaning it? I don’t want to destroy the patina it has and I know I’ll never get it to look new again but I’d like to clean it before the ceremony. I’ve read many postings on the web and one thing I’ve read is to never clean the inside of it. Any tips would be appreciated.

    • #14718
      hjlong3
      Participant

      The patina is a chemical reaction with the bronze that provides a protective coating to the bell and should not be removed if the bell is to be kept out of doors. A brass or bronze wire brush and a good detergeant and water is all that is needed to remove bird droppings and dirt from the bell. Do not use a steel wire brush as steel is harder and will scratch the bronze. If there is paint dropping on the bell, use a solvent paint remover, but expect the patina to be different under the paint. It may take several years for that patina to match the remainder of the bell.
      Enjoy your bell and its melodious sound.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #14721
      mmitchell
      Participant

      Mr. Long,

      Thank you so much for your help with this bell. We will clean it as you have instructed. We are looking forward to hearing it ring again. At our ceremony, which will be either August 2nd or 9th, we’re going to have a gentleman who used to drive one of the horse-drawn “buses” that picked up school children as the one who rings it for the first time to rededicate it. It should be quite an emotional event for him. He’s 94!
      I’d also like to put this bell on some sort of register so if anyone is interested in it they’ll know where to find it. Is there such a list?

      Mark

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