Help I.D. bell bought for our schoolhouse renovation?
March 8, 2009 at 6:58 pm #11087
We’re renovating a schoolhouse and just bought a bell at a local estate sale to replace the one that used to top our building. Can anyone lead us to any information about its manufacture? Thank you kindly!
Material: Cast iron
Bell height: 10-1/2 inches
Bell base diameter: 15-3/4 inches
Widest portion of upright: 23-3/4
Bell and upright size: No. 3
Lettering on bell: W S HARRINGT N (no letter “O”) and MANSFIEL (no letter “D”) O.
Upright reads: CRYSTAL METAL, REG. U. S. PAT.OFF. and NO. 3 UPRIGHT SS
See photos here:
See our renovation story here: http://www.quarryschool.com
March 9, 2009 at 5:00 pm #14534hjlongMember
Wilson S. Harrington had a foundry in Bellville, OH and cast steel bells similar to C. S. Bell. The Foundry existed as LF & WS Harrington from 1864-1875 and as WS Harrington after 1875. I do not know when the foundry closed and stopped making bells. Your bell is a No 3 size farm dinner bell. I know nothing more about this foundry.
Harry Long, MD
March 9, 2009 at 5:55 pm #14535
Thank you big time, Harry! Knowing the foundry’s dates means this bell was likely made about the same time our schoolhouse was built (1868 for the first classroom and 1878 for the second classroom, which is the portion that held the bell). Although I know this bell is not original to our building, its patina of weathered red paint matches the first color applied to the wood trim of our limestone building, so I’m inclined to believe it could have been attached to a building of the same vintage. In any case, we’ll not tamper with its finish but plan to house it in a roof-mounted tower replicated on the basis of old photographs. Thank you again, my dear.
March 9, 2009 at 6:25 pm #14536
For others’ reference, I’m adding to this thread in hopes it proves useful to any who pursue a similar line of investigation.
From a site with this URL: http://sites.pch.com/tips/collectible/collectible-bells.aspx, I find mention of these two qualifiers:
“… bells with a diameter of 20 inches to 28 inches are considered to be school bells, while bells with a diameter greater than 30 inches are considered to be fire bells or church bells.”
and “The wall thickness of school bells is typically much thinner than the walls of fire or church bells. This gave the school bells a distinctive sound which prevented them from being mistaken for other types of bells.”
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