City Hall/Fire Station Bell
March 6, 2011 at 3:52 am #11721
I am trying to find out more about a bell that is in a church tower south of Annapolis, MD, that was given to the church in abt 1871. It came from the city of Annapolis city hall/fire station c1822. It has the date 1792, Philada, and name samoel or samuel on it. The rest of name is hidden by bell tower brick work. I’m trying to find mfg of bell for fire dept history but get nothing for phil 1792 or phil. bell manufacturers.
Any help will be appreciated.
March 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm #16302Carl Scott ZimmermanParticipant
This is an exciting discovery! As it happens (coincidentally or Providentially), I am in the midst of researching the early Philadelphia bellfounders through city directories, which began to be published there shortly before this bell was made. The earliest directories (1785, 1791, 1793 and annually thereafter) do not list any artisan who identified himself as a bell founder. (The first such would not appear until 1796-7.) However, there were several men working as brass founders, including at least one with a first name of Samuel. Although such people would have dealt mainly in small precision brasswork such as locks, stopcocks, etc., it is quite possible that one or more of them had the capacity (or at least the knowledge) to work in bronze and with larger items such as church bells.
It is really important to know exactly what the complete inscription says, and where it is located on the bell. A flashlight and mirror would be helpful in seeing the “hidden” side of the bell. Photos would also be helpful, not only for the style of the bell itself (and its lettering) but also because the nature of a bell’s fittings can tell a lot about its origin and history.
March 8, 2011 at 12:48 am #16303
the bell is in a bell tower over the church. the info i got came from photos i took with long lens.
i have ask the chursh re taking a fire dept ladder truck to read parts i cant see from ground some time when the weather breaks. they are consered about libility, the laddet truck messing up their parking lot/grass ect. this is for the annapolis fd history sinse it was on a fire house/city hall and i think i may have been on a pole prior as a fire alarm. i’ll have to get some to help with photo on this page ! in my 70+ yrs i havent do much of this. in fact i have no idea what all this stuff is on this page, smiles, bbcode etc.
March 8, 2011 at 1:11 am #16304AnonymousInactive
You’re doing just fine. All that stuff about smilies, BBCode, etc. are stuff the younger generations are interested in. The smilies are just different versions of the old “Smiley Face” we thought was “jazzy” back in the 1960s! You’ve posted a response and that shows you have successfully learned to post on the forum! That’s all you need to know for now! Good for you! You are ahead of a lot of people.
We applaud you for investigating this bell and wanting to record its history! I agree that the hook and ladder would probably do less damage while the ground is still frozen. But, ultimately, the decision is theirs. And the loss of information is their loss.
I have been an ABA member for 45 years but didn’t realize how much interest there is in big bells until I took over the Internet Coordinator’s job four years ago.
March 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm #16300
i think i answered my own query re mfg of bell. using different day lighting & photo tec we got the mfg name on the bell from the ground. the lettering at the top of the bell reads: “cast by samuel parker philada 1792”. i still would like to know who this guy was. i tried to att several photos but i says file to big ? i have to fig this out !
thanks all for help
March 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm #16301AnonymousInactive
If you are using Photobucket to post your picture, try this:
If you should get an error message that says, “It was not possible to determine the dimensions of the image” try this:
1. Go back to your album on Photobucket.com to the page where your picture is posted.
2. Click on the photo and then click on the word “Edit” above the picture.
3. At the top of the new page, you’ll see a strip of icons that begins with “Auto Fix”. You want the button that says, “Resize.” Click on it.
4. Find where it says “New Size”. Put in numbers smaller than 320 x 240. When you put in the first number, the second number will probably automatically fill in. This will retain the picture’s width to height ratio.
5. At the bottom of the page, click on “Replace original.”
This information is available at viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3776.
March 10, 2011 at 5:09 pm #16305
i’ll try photos again, smaller size[attachment=1:ljix72rt]CHURCH BELL #1 .jpg[/attachment:ljix72rt][attachment=0:ljix72rt]CHURCH BELL #3 .jpg[/attachment:ljix72rt][attachment=1:ljix72rt]CHURCH BELL #1 .jpg[/attachment:ljix72rt][attachment=2:ljix72rt]CHURCH BELL #2 .jpg[/attachment:ljix72rt]
March 13, 2011 at 10:43 pm #16306Carl Scott ZimmermanParticipant
Good camera work, Charlie! Now I can tell you more about who made this bell.
Samuel Parker was a brassfounder, and worked in Philadelphia for two decades or more. He appears in the first city directory (1785), and was last recorded there in the 1804 directory. Unlike some other artisans, he did not move around during that time; his address was at 137 Mulberry (or Arch) street for the entire period. He never identified himself as a bellfounder in the city directories, but it’s quite possible that he advertised that capability in newspapers or broadsheets of the day.
In fact, none of the half-dozen or so brassfounders who appear in the earliest Philadelphia directories identified themselves as bellfounders also, though at least one of them is known to have had that capability.
March 15, 2011 at 2:36 am #16307hjlong3Participant
This is a beautiful bell that is reminiscent of The Liberty Bell. It is wide at the shoulder. One wonders if Samuel Parker learned his trade from Pass & Stow or worked with them.
Harry Long, MD
March 20, 2011 at 10:08 pm #16308
THANKS FOR THE INFO ON THE CITY HALL/FIRE STA BELL. WE THINK THE CITY OF ANNAPOLIS GOT THE BELL SOME TIME AROUND 1792+ FOR A FIRE BELL, STILL WORKING ON THAT. GOT THIER FIRST FIRE ENG IN 1755, AND STARTED FIRE CO THEN. NEEDED A WAY TO CALL FIRE FIGHTERS OUT.
CHARLIE (some of the fire fighters today think i go back that far !)
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