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    • #10862

      Paul B. has asked:

      I have inherited a 25 1/2″ diameter “G L Hanks Cincinatti” (raised letters on top band) bronze plantation bell with cast iron frame and I am curious as to any information you can give me on this bell. I was told that this bell was purchased in the late 1800’s.

      Thank You for consideration in this matter.

      If you can help, please post a response.

      Responses are opinions of individuals based on their personal research and knowledge.


    • #13765
      Neil Goeppinger

      The firm was George L.Hanks located on Columbus Street in Cincinnati. It was established in 1857 but I do not know how long it operated under this name. By 1857, Andrew Meneely had married Philena Hanks and the Hanks and Meneely foundry had been in operation, and the name had changed to the Meneely name. I do not know how George L. Hanks was related to either Julius Hanks or Benjamin Hanks who were also bell founders. I think he was a son of either Alpheus Hanks (uncle of Julius) or Turman (brother of Julius). They were all bell founders. Alpheus and Truman operated under the name A & T Hanks.

      Benjamine Hanks learned bell founding as an apprentice in the Paul Revere bell foundry, and Julius was his son. They were all related to Nancy Hanks Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s mother.

      The Goerge L. Hanks firm made bells up to 5,000 pounds. One weighing 3,400 pounds was in St Peter in Chains Cathederal in Cincinnati and was very ornate. Later this bell was moved to St. Teresa Church in Cincinnati.

      There is lots more information on the two Meneely bell foundry firms located in Troy and West Troy, N.Y. — Neil

    • #13766

      Mary Caughlan Kelley writes:

      I am writing a book about my great-grandfather, David Caughlan who was a bell founder in St. Louis between 1849 and 1867. In researching, I came across these notes on George Hanks:

      A Col. Benjamin Hanks was an early bell founder, before David Caughlan’s time, in the Storrs, Connecticut and Gibbonsville, New York areas. His large Hanks family went on to intermarry with members of families in other foundries in New York, including the Meneely family. A descendant of Col. Hanks, George L. Hanks, worked in Cincinnati, Ohio by the early 1840s; he used the name Cincinnati Bell Foundry. Before his death in 1859, George L. Hanks worked in consort on at least one bell with David Caughlan, circa 1857. G. L. Hanks’ foundry was eventually absorbed into the Buckeye Bell Foundry of Ohio, founded by G. W. Coffin in 1837.

      I hope this will be of interest to Paul B. I hope he will send a picture of his bell.

      This message was originally sent to the ABA’s Internet Coordinator. Responses are opinions of individuals based on their personal research and knowledge.

    • #13767

      A much more extensive history of George L. Hanks and his bellfounding work can be found at G.L.Hanks was only 46 when he died; if he had lived longer, the course of bellfounding history in Cincinnati might have been much different.

      Connected to that page is a genealogical outline which shows the connections between the Hanks bellfounders, the Meneely bellfounders, and others.

    • #13768

      In researching the church history of my church in Johnstown, OH, I found your posts on G.L. Hanks of Cincinnati. The bell currently in our tower shows G.L. Hanks, Cinn. OH. The bell was in the original Presbyterian Church of Johnstown which was constructed in March of 1837. The bell is 30 inches in diameter at the base, 27 inches in height and 18 inches across at the top. It is decorated with small angels and cherubs. The bell was removed from the 1837 structure in 1911 when a new brick church was being built for the church and placed back into the new tower structure on May 15, 1912. I’m attaching a photo of this bell recently taken (3/30/2010).

    • #13769

      In rely to the email received from Carl Scott Zimmerman regarding the Presbyterian Church of Johnstown’s bell:
      “Many thanks for posting the photo of the G.L.Hanks bell in your church. Can you possibly send me a larger photo, with as much detail as possible? There are some interesting comparisons to the work of G.W.Coffin, who operated a competing bellfoundry in Cincinnati, but I’d like to see more details before posting that information to the ABA Forum.”

      The gentleman who climbed into the tower to take photos did take a total of 3 photos in the confined space and I’m attaching the two additional ones. On the close up one, if you look closely, above the decoration, you can fairly clearly see the by G. L. Hanks marking. On the second, which is not as close up, you can make it out there too.

      Secondary to our bell, there was a church in Euclid, OH that burned recently and the Cleveland Plain Dealer posted an article about their bell which survived the devastating fire — which was also marked G. L. Hanks.
      Thanks, Linda

    • #13770

      With your earlier mention of decorations involving cherubs, I wondered how those compared with G.W.Coffin’s panels of cherubs at school. Based on your larger photos, the answer is – not much!

      The upright sans serif lettering of Hanks’ identifying inscription matches what I’ve seen on another Hanks bell. The decoration below it is somewhat more ornate, which is not surprising because your church bell is larger.

      What is a bit unusual about Hanks’ work in comparison to that of other founders is that the decorative band is entirely below the inscription band. Other founders generally put the lettering below the decorative band or between two decorative bands, or omit the decoration entirely.

      Thanks for sharing the larger photos!

    • #13771

      Mr. Zimmerman: What weight would you approximate in a cast bell of the size of the Johnstown bell? The bell is 30 inches in diameter at the base, 27 inches in height and 18 inches across at the top. What material do you believe it was cast from?

      Thanks for any help. Linda

    • #13772

      Undoubtedly it is made of bronze – the form called “bell metal”, which is roughly 80% copper and 20% tin (the exact percentage varies slightly according to different bellfounders’ preferences).

      As to it’s weight, that depends on how thick the profile is. My best guess is between 550 and 600 pounds for the bare bell (fittings not included).

    • #13773

      Thanks so much and Happy Easter! Linda

    • #26519

      Hello All,

      I know this is a rather old thread but I am hoping to be able to contact Ms. Mary Caughlan Kelley to be able to speak with her about her Great Grandfather David Caughlan. I have been doing research on the early bell foundries of Cincinnati and have some information and some questions I’d like to share.

      Tim Verdin
      (513) 559-3949

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