GH Holbrook 1831 Mass Medway
Tagged: Holbrook Bell Foundry
January 30, 2017 at 11:56 am #25136
I am new to this site. I am trying to find out about my Holbrook Bell that my
grandfather purchased years ago. I am attaching a photo, I would love to find
out where this bell originated from. I would like to find out as much information
as I possibly can. Can someone tell me where I can research this bell and get the most
information? Written around the Bell is( G H Holbrook 1831 Mass Medway )
Also Does anyone know the value?
Any help would be appreciated. Is anyone aware of any Holbrook Bells that are in Museums?
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January 30, 2017 at 3:35 pm #25139
Hi Rose and welcome.
I could spend days reading all the articles that showed up for a Google search of G H Holbrook.
The best answers came right from this Forum, of course.
Specific history of any individual bell is very difficult without more detailed inscriptions right on the bell.
I would recommend searching here or use Google for even more info, including many images.
Find the “SEARCH” window at the upper right hand corner of the Forum main page.
Your grandfather’s nice bell has a little more than patina happenin’ around those letters. Still a real beauty.
Have you heard it ring?
What is the diameter across the opening?
I am confident there will be others along to add information, but a search will probably contain their quotes from elsewhere on this Forum.
Keep us apprised of your project, and share the joy of its ring!
January 30, 2017 at 7:13 pm #25140
Thank You. What is patina? How do you avoid it. I have not heard the ring, the bell is really heavy. My husband Is going to move it into the barn next weekend. I should be able to hear the ring, I will let
You know. Do bells like this ever have any print on the inside of them that you know of?
January 30, 2017 at 7:52 pm #25141
Patina: On metal, patina is a coating of various chemical compounds such as oxides, carbonates, sulfides, or sulfates formed on the surface during exposure to atmospheric elements (oxygen, rain, acid rain, carbon dioxide, sulfur-bearing compounds), a common example of which is rust which forms on iron or steel when exposed to oxygen. (Wikipedia)
On copper and bronze, some find a greenish patina attractive. But some patches might be a destructive bronze disease.
I’d search out local resources to inspect it, though exactly who that might be I’m not sure.
There are bronze care and maintenance threads in the “Repair” forum.
The Holbrook bells come from a line of famous American founders, and are prized.
I think regular waxing would slow deterioration, and partial or full shelter makes a huge difference.
Looking down the list of known Holbrook bells, I saw no mention of interior inscriptions. But one of the bells listed is owned by bell authority and author, Neil Goeppinger, a frequent contributor. You’ll get the best info when he chimes in. There are many others here also more experienced than I.
I have seen interior inscriptions cast into iron or steel bells, but my knowledge is limited in bronze.
Keep us tuned in,
January 31, 2017 at 12:46 pm #25142
Thank You for the information. In researching this bell I find the information and history is so interesting.
When I measure the bell, Do I measure it across the middle or
meaure it around the perimeter? Does this bell look like a church bell to you , or could it
have been a ship bell? I will keep you posted.
February 1, 2017 at 10:29 am #25144
Measure the widest diameter across the opening.
The wooden yoke would seem to indicate a land-based installation
Although there have been some fancy ship’s bells over 20″, maritime bells are generally smaller.
But start with size. If it’s 18″ or so maybe maritime from a monumental ship. Larger, more likely a church as few schools could afford such a bell.
March 11, 2017 at 1:39 am #25214Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
Here are a couple of resources for you to check out:
On Findagrave.com, do a search for Maj George Holbrook, 1767-1846, at Find A Grave Memorial #67505532. You will find a brief write-up about him as the founder and 1st proprietor of the Holbrook Bell Foundry. You’ll also see a picture of one of his bells. I suggest you do a google search.
March 26, 2017 at 1:28 am #25268Neil GoeppingerParticipant
Hello Rose, The diameter of the opening is a major determinate of the value of the bell. George Handel Holbrook made bells from 1798 to 1880, but before that he learned bell making in the Paul Revere foundry as an apprentice, thus his firm was a direct descendent from the Revere foundry. His firm made over 11,000 bells. I have one of his bells dated 1837 in my collection. It is important that you get your bell under cover to prevent further deterioration of the wood beam. You are fortunate to have the iron pieces which attach the crown of the bell to the wood beam. Holbrook bells are of quite good quality given how early they were made. I hate to plug my own book, but Large Bells of America has quite a bit of information on this firm — too much to put in a forum post. There is a chapter on bell founding history in the U.S. which starts with Paul Revere and goes down from there, including the Holbrook firms.
March 30, 2017 at 12:02 am #25270nightflier51Participant
Hi Neil Where can I get a copy of your book? Ron
March 30, 2017 at 1:25 am #25271Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
You might want to look on amazon.com to see if they have Neil’s book for sale.
March 31, 2017 at 3:36 am #25278nightflier51Participant
March 31, 2017 at 10:24 am #25279
That’s where I purchased mine.
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