Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Ever seen a Meneely & Oothout bell?

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    • #10531
      new2this
      Participant

      [attachment=0:2a0m93sm]Meneely & Oothout.jpg[/attachment:2a0m93sm][attachment=1:2a0m93sm]Meneely & Oothout ad 8-20-1839.jpg[/attachment:2a0m93sm]A few weeks back, I signed up here on “Bell Talk” as a complete novice. Specifically because; this looked like a pretty good place to look for information about an unusual antique I recently acquired. One that just happened to be an old bell. Of course, I have come to regret joining now. This as my brief informational stop off has turned into something weird! Now for some strange reason, I find myself spending an inordinate amount of time looking at and reading about other people’s bells. Which; brings me to the question I probably should have asked before I started: What is it about BELLS that is so darn compelling? 🙂 Someday someone on here will tell me that. In the meantime though, I thought a few similarly affected folks on here might be interested in seeing my bell, as well as some things I did manage to find out about it that I find pretty interesting. To get the information, I sent an email to a gentleman who years ago, wrote a pretty good on-line article about Meneely bells. Turns out his day job is Town Historian from one of the hamlets down where they were made in Wateveliet/Troy NY. Hence I suspect; stems his interest in Meneely bells. Anyway, nice guy but insomuch as much of what he knew was already covered pretty well in his article, he ended up forwarding my email on to another area Town Historian down there. Who he thought might know a bit more. From that second gentleman I got an email with some answers to my biggest questions. One being that as far as he knew, my “Meneely & Oothout” was one of the earliest Meneely bells found. Which; explains why you can not find a picture of one anywhere on the internet. Next he told me he thought it was made of bronze. Which I think is confirmed by the picture above is a Meneely & Oothout newspaper ad from 1839. Finally he told me he thought it was a ship’s bell. But in that regard, I just might disagree. This because the picture below is a Period catalog page that he sent me (pretty cool) that makes me think the 80 lbs my bell weighs wearing its yoke as seen in the pictures – makes it more likely to be a Plantation or Farm Bell. But, who knows and with that said – if anyone on here has an idea as to what it was intended/used for – I would love to hear what you think.
      Jeff R.

    • #12949
      jackbell
      Participant

      A ship bell is stationary. Riverboat bells swung but were usually larger. It could have been used agriculturally, in a country school or church, in a factory, or even on an early steam locomotive. Some bells were used for more than one function eventually. I have a ship bell that was retrieved from the Gulf of Mexico and used for many years in a Lafayette, Louisiana auction room prior to the Civil War. Your bronze bell is outstanding. There are probably very few left from that brief partnership.

    • #12950
      new2this
      Participant

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts about my bell jackbell. And I agree that it could have been used in a variety of ways. Particularly over the course of the 175 years since it was cast. Tell me though (either you or anyone else for that matter) what kind of clues as to its use can be gathered by its yoke and the swing arm (is that the right term?) a.k.a. the iron arm on top used to swing/ring it? My main interest lies in how I should consider setting my Bell up to use/ring it. In that regard; to me the inset picture of one side of the yoke suggests it would/could accommodate a wheel. Which; would see me going for the A-frame stands and a wheel. Much like this old advertizing flyer for Meneely & Oothout Bells I ran across on the web. However, the way the swing arm is set up on it makes me think it spent some part of its “life” on an Upright Mount. Which would be fine except I have no idea if the swing arm on it came as a factory option, or more likely – was a later added/re-purpose homemade add on?

      Seems picayune but if I am going to keep this bell, it won’t be as a knick knack and it would be nice to know how to “historically accurately” set it up. Oh, and of course safely which everything I have been reading (and common sense tells me) tells me that I should replace the bold holding the yoke on BUT man I hate the thought of monkeying with anything involving the hardware and patina on this cool old bell. Would you?

    • #12951
      jackbell
      Participant

      The arm was hand-wrought by a blacksmith a very long time ago. He did an excellent job. Leave it as is. Also, don’t monkey around with that bolt. I’d leave the patina but you might prefer the bell professionally polished. The original wheel and either A frames or cradle were no doubt lost or broken. A good machine shop can design A frames. Display your bell inside. Stuff like this is tempting to thieves.

    • #12952
      new2this
      Participant

      Yeah, I bet you are right about a blacksmith making that swing arm. And, I agree that he knew his stuff. It is a perfect fit with the old original bolt going straight thru it and then the yoke. As for polishing it – that’s a tough call. There is a picture of a very similar sized but later cast Meneely Bell on the Lowerbells website all polished up. Looks great and almost new. But, I don’t know that I want that because you look at mine all patinated and rusty – you don’t have any wonder if it is old. Anyway, I have thought about having a machine shop weld me together some A-frames but I think I am going to search around a bit to see if I can find something if not period old, at least ornate. Tell you – I was looking online at some old cast iron treadle singer sewing machine tables. Made me laugh and tell the sweetheart – look at that – tear the fancy scroll work legs and the treadle wheel off, slap them together and there is my bell cradle and wheel. 😆 Course she is a killjoy and suggested it won’t hold the weight which I hate but have to agree. Anyway, I’ll find something, and in the meantime, can tell you I took your advice and decided to put it in the house. Leastwise until I figure out a ” thief proof” way to leave it out. With that in mind; maybe my next research should be on how is bronze at conducting electricity. 😈

    • #12953
      ssrenity
      Member

      I hope this works. The link is to a google plus page of 3 photos of my Meneely & Oothout 1840 bell. I removed this bell from Salem, NY in 2009 along with the Meneely & Oothout clock that was there as well. I still have both. Am restoring the clock and want to find a good home for both in a public place where all can enjoy.

      https://plus.google.com/photos/110017438913797146471/albums/5916933100361465169

    • #12954
      jackbell
      Participant

      My 1807 ship bell weighs 80# with no yoke. Being a swinging bell, I think yours was used in a belfry originally, probably a schoolhouse or small church. It’s a great bronze bell.

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