Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Decoration on American bells

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    • #11092
      Hillary Murtha
      Participant

      Hi,
      I just came back from Louisiana, where I found that a lot of antebellum sugar plantation bells had decorative friezes on them.(Laurel wreaths, cupids, etc) I’m wondering how common this is; all the other plantation bells I’ve looked at have been really plain. Has anyone else run into this sort of thing? Most of the bells sem to have been cast in Cincinnati.

      Any & all input welcome.
      Thanks
      Hillary

    • #14546
      lucky13
      Member

      Hillary: Those were cast by the Buckeye Bell Foundry in Cincinnati which operated from 1837 until 1951. Their earlier bells, like the ones you saw, were highly ornamented, much more than other US foundries. Ownership of Buckeye changed in the 1860’s and it’s bells after that were much plainer in design. There’s a lot of info on Buckeye in this forum.

    • #14547
      John Eachus
      Member

      Do you have any photos of the decoration?

      What sizes are the bells?

      “Buckeye Bells” were cast by a historic foundry changed ownership four times:

      C.A. Coffin Bell Foundry, Cincinati prior to 1837
      G.W. Coffin Bell Foundry, Cincinnati exact dates undetermined
      Vanduzen & Tift, Cincinnati, 1865-1889
      E.W. Vanduzen Bell Foundry, 1894-1950

      Coffin bells were typically highly decorated bells, and were most often found on paddle wheel steam river boats. The bells were occasionaly cast with 80% copper and 20% silver. (Normal bronze is 80% copper & 20% tin).

      John

    • #14548

      20 percent silver? Never happened! The use of silver or other precious metals in large bells is a rumor with no foundation in fact.

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