Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Bell Foundries, Manufacturers and Artisans Cast Steel Church bells made in St Louis

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    • #24421
      nightflier51
      Participant

      I posted a few years ago about a large fancy bell with a wheel embossed with Lilly vines. on the wheel rim. The bell had no rings and from what I remember is the clapper looked like C S Bell or American bell The stands were A frame uprights. The bell looked around 36 inches across and had a tolling hammer. Were there any iron foundries in St Louis MO also. I heard this bell once ringing from this redundant church back in the 60s. It was stolen and is lost forever. Do anyone know of a foundry there that made bells with fancy wheels? This bell sounded bronze but when as a boy I climbed up and it looked rust red and brown and gray mix with pidgeon manure running down the whole thing.

    • #24828

      I have extensively researched the St.Louis bellfoundries, and in the process noted quite a number of iron foundries. There were at least 36 different enterprises (some with multiple names) that made or sold bells in St.Louis between 1821 and 1961. But all of the steel bells that I have seen bearing the name of this city were obviously made elsewhere on a private label basis for sale through distributors of hardware, agricultural equipment, railroad supplies or other durable goods. One St.Louis iron foundry did make solid paperweights in the shape of a bell, and about the size of a horse car bell, but those are not at all like what you describe.

      In the course of looking for examples of the work of the St.Louis bellfounders, I have identified more than a thousand bronze and steel bells in the city of St.Louis and the surrounding 20 counties in Missouri and Illinois. None have wheels as ornate as what you describe. Of that 1000+, almost half were made in St.Louis, about a third were made elsewhere in the USA, and the remainder were imported from Europe or Mexico. But less than a third of the known St.Louis bellfounders are represented, as a result of the small numbers that some produced as well as losses due to fire, breakage or theft. So the bell that you remember seeing might have come from one of the foundries for which no surviving bells are presently known. It’s too bad you didn’t get a photograph, or record whatever name might have been part of the inscription. It does sound interesting!

    • #24996
      nightflier51
      Participant

      I was 12 years old and the church was redundant and I climbed the ladder and I well remember the name St Louis on the yoke. The wheel was embossed with lily vines or ivy but not sure but not painted on. The bell was reddish gray with pigeon manure running in streaks down the bell It had no rings around it. It looked about 34 inches wide. It had normal A frames and a round iron tolling device also. I heard it last in 1968 when some boys went up and swung it. It did not have the cast iron or steel sound to it. It had a bronze tone. It was stolen one night by thieves and disappeared forever.

    • #24998

      Was the church in St.Louis also? If so, there’s a book with the history of every church in the city that was built before WW II. If we could identify the church, then investigating its history might lead to identifying the bell that you remember. If the church was elsewhere, perhaps you could find similar resources to identify the building.

    • #25032
      nightflier51
      Participant

      Hi The church was at Ivanhoe Virginia USA It was called AME Methodist Church. African Methodist Episcopal. Built around 1890s

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