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    • #29323

      I recently received a large bell, approximately 100 pounds. It appears to be cast iron, is 21 inches in diameter, and 16-18 inches high. On the “hanger”, it says “Fredick town Ohio” on one side and “E & F” on the other. It also has “E & F” on the mount. Can anyone provide information or a contact to help me find info on this bell?

    • #29430

      Hello Rebago,

      Being that the hanger is says Fredericktown, Ohio, I am betting that what you have is a steel bell cast by the Foote Foundry. This foundry actually has quite an interesting history.

      The foundry came to be in 1851 and was known as the L.D. Rankin Bell Factory. The bells that were cast in the Ranking foundry were an alloy of steel, not to be confused as cast iron. Rankin called this metal “new composition bell metal”. In 1867 the foundry was sold to a local businessmen by the name of William Cummings after Rankin passed. Cummings owned the foundry for 10 or 15 years and then sold it to James B. Foote. Of course when Foote purchased the foundry he named it the J.B. Foote Foundry. Under the ownership of Foote, the foundry made a name for itself casting bells, some of them quite large. Foote sold his bells all over the country and even overseas. He marketed his bells as church bells, plantation bells, ship bells, dinner bells and college bells.

      In 1913 Foote sold his foundry to R. Struble and F. Zeig. They continued cast bells but also expanded the business into cement mixers and concrete block machines. The business thrived under their ownership and employed many people from the town.

      In 1930 the foundry was sold again this time to G.V. Fearn. Under Fearns leadership the foundry was lucky enough to form a partnership with Sears & Roebuck who sold their bells in their magazine. Along with the bells they also continued making concrete block machines and cement mixers.

      The foundry started to decline in the 1940’s as a result of steel being hard to get because of the war effort. In 1987 it was purchased by a Mr. Tom Updike and was modernized. it continued to run through about 2014 although not casting bells anymore.

      I actually did a “drive by” several months ago when I was in Northern Ohio and the foundry is still there although I don’t believe it is open.

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