Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells C & N iron bells

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    • #11168
      Audinos
      Participant

      Hello,
      This is my first post. I am a Catholic priest in the United States with a lifetime interest in tower bells and other musical instruments. After a recent inspection at my Oregon parish for some tower maintenance issues, I discovered that our bell, which strikes a decent-sounding Ab’ note, is a 48″ diameter cast iron bell. That, along with having a short arm rather than a wheel, explains the difficulty in ringing it. On the top of the yoke are the words “C & N Bell Co.” on one side and “48” on the other. Does anyone know more about C & N bells? Is this from Blymyer? The church was completed in 1920. Did they ever come with tolling hammers (we don’t have one)? Thanks for any light you can shed on these bells.[attachment=2:1o23rbs8]DSCF0687.JPG[/attachment:1o23rbs8][attachment=1:1o23rbs8]DSCF0694.JPG[/attachment:1o23rbs8][attachment=0:1o23rbs8]DSCF0695.JPG[/attachment:1o23rbs8]

    • #14730
      lucky13
      Member

      Father: Your church’s Blymyer bell doesn’t have it’s original support stands and braces, wood wheel, and tolling hammer. It’s possible it was acquired second-hand when the church was built and those parts were already missing. Old church records might indicate the bell’s source. Perhaps it’s feasible to install a longer arm. That would lessen the pull required to get the bell swinging. There’s information on Blymyer (Cincinnati Bell Co) in this forum and other internet sites. Just Google Blymyer bell.

    • #14731
      rcowie
      Participant

      Dear Father,

      I am a Catholic Deacon who is building a family chapel and have a collection of iron bells, (all except the 54″) and nine bronze bells. The tower for the chapel is 44 feet high and the chapel is 30 by 16. I own a winery in Arkansas, near the abbey of Subiaco. If interested in emailing, my mail address is cowie@cswnet.com
      My web site is cowiewinecellars.com
      I am the Parish Administrator of St Anthony’s in Ratcliff, Arkansas. I like you 48″ bell.

      bob

    • #14732
      Audinos
      Participant

      Apparently Blymyer bells have an A-stand with an attached base piece. One end of the stand had come loose and allowed it to rock back and forth with the bell. This base piece limited the travel of the A-stand, which probably saved the bell from coming off the stand and through the tower floor. We have tightened the stand, lubricated the pivot points and the arm (which used to make squeak heard two blocks away when the rope was pulled), and it’s now ringing like new. Before, when the ringer stopped pulling, the bell stopped almost instantly. Now, it will give several strikes before it comes to a halt.

      Our bell has the original Blymyer A-stand, but the wheel is missing and there was apparently never a tolling hammer. That’s my next project.

    • #14733
      lucky13
      Member

      Father: A skilled woodworker might be able to construct a wheel of hardwood (oak or ash) since the old wheel hub is still present. A tolling hammer should not be too difficult for a machine shop to design. Hopefully, it won’t get used often!

    • #14734
      autobob01
      Participant

      Just restored a Blymyer for our church. It is a number 32 in very good condition. The wood wheel on ours is original and was made of 3/4″ plywood, and it isn’t a very precise cut as far as the wheel is concerned. We had to make a new stand and ours never had a tolling hammer either. Ours will be put on display inside the church and used for special occasions.

    • #14735
      Audinos
      Participant

      @lucky13 wrote:

      Father: A skilled woodworker might be able to construct a wheel of hardwood (oak or ash) since the old wheel hub is still present. A tolling hammer should not be too difficult for a machine shop to design. Hopefully, it won’t get used often!

      If we had a tolling hammer, I’d use it twice a day for the Angelus, which consists of three sets of three tolls, followed by a swinging peal. Traditionally it is sounded at 6 AM, 12 PM, and 6 PM, but we omit the morning call because there is a hotel across the street. Right now, I ring the Angelus as they do in southern Germany and Austria: three short peals interspersed with a few seconds of silence. Concerning the wheel, wouldn’t a metal wheel be more durable? I’d hate to break a wooden wheel because someone tried to stop the bell by holding the rope.

    • #14736
      lucky13
      Member

      Father: American bells of the 19th and early 20 centuries over a certain size (perhaps 40 inches or so) were fitted with hardwood wheels. At that time those were probably stronger than cast wheels for such large bells. Most wood wheels were not properly maintained (painted or varnished) over the years and eventually deteriorated. Bells cast today are fitted with strong steel wheels. If your lever works well there’s really no need for a wheel. Installing one might be difficult or dangerous without removing the bell from the tower.

    • #14739

      After examining the first photo carefully, I think that “C & N” is a misreading of what should “CIN”, an abbreviation for Cincinnati that I have seen on several other bells of exactly the same style. Names used by this company: Cincinnati Bell Foundry Co. (THE CINCINNATI BELL FDY CO), Cincinnati Bell Co. (CIN BELL CO); Blymyer, Norton & Co. It was a spinoff from Blymyer Manufacturing Company of Cincinnati, which also made steel bells. Unfortunately I have not yet been able to search enough of the Cincinnati business directories to develop a full history of the foundry and when it used the various names.

    • #14738
      Audinos
      Participant

      I have not been up in the tower to see the bell, but judging by the photos, could this bell possibly be steel rather than cast iron?

    • #14737

      Yes; in fact all “cast iron” bells are actually cast steel. I can’t tell you the exact composition, though; there are at least as many varieties of steel as there are of bronze, and only one of the forms of bronze is “bell metal”.

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