Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells help identifying this bell

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    • #11487
      swamp_thing
      Participant

      I need help identifying this bell. I got this bell from my father who said it is from a 1917 American LaFrance Fire Truck, that my uncle once owned. The bell is very heavy and has a great sound. I am wondering what the bell is made of and how to clean it up. Should I try to remove the internals and have them cleaned up or just paint them in place? I would like to display the bell outside and want to make sure it is still around for me to hand down.

      [attachment=2:1vy5wk7y]Bell (2).JPG[/attachment:1vy5wk7y]
      [attachment=1:1vy5wk7y]Bell (5).JPG[/attachment:1vy5wk7y]
      [attachment=0:1vy5wk7y]Bell (3).JPG[/attachment:1vy5wk7y]

    • #15875
      jackbell
      Participant

      Go to the Wikipedia website and enter “american lafrance”. There’s a very good article with photos. With it’s characteristic eagle finial you have one of that company’s bells. Use some Liquid Wrench penetrating oil if the pieces won’t come apart easily. Clean the iron parts with a steel brush and paint red or black. The bell is brass with nickel plate. Use any metal polish suitable for chrome or nickel. I would not risk getting this bell stolen. Display it inside.

    • #15874
      hjlong3
      Participant

      I agree. This is an American LaFrance Fire Engine Bell. These were usually chrome plated and were prominently mounted on the fire engine near the passenger seat in the open cab of the fire engine and was rung manually in the era before sirens were used to warn traffic that a fire engine was coming. By the 1920s Fire Engines had both the bell and a hand cranked siren. The bell was then mounted on the front of the engine on the bumper or running board. By the 1940s, electric sirens were standard, but the bell remained as a symbol of the fire engine. The bell is cast bronze and was probably nickel or chrome plated. The steel center support was usually painted red on early engines and chrome plated on later engines. These are quite collectible and much in demand by collectors of fire engine memorabilia. My dad was a life long volunteer fire fighter and his American LaFrance bell was his pride and joy.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #15876
      Thomas
      Participant

      This is the exact bell that I’ve been looking for. I have a 1921 American Lafrance Fire Truck which was purchased by my father. He was a full time fireman. The original bell was removed from the truck and is used as a ceremonial bell so there is not much of a chance I’ll get the bell back on my truck. If ANYONE can help be find an original ALF bell, please get in touch with me. I realize this is an old post – but possibly someone will be able to help me. Thanks much. Tom

    • #15877
      kevinstpete
      Participant

      Hi,

      I have a 12″ American Lafrance fire engine bell for sale. I noticed an old post here. Would you still be interested in one? I am a collector of antique fire engines and have an extra bell I have had for years. Please let me know if you would please. My email address is uniquegraphics@ij.net

      Have a great day.

      Kevin Piquet
      St. Petersburg, FL

    • #15878
      Thomas
      Participant

      Kevin:
      Thanks for the reply. I didn’t see your post until yesterday. I sent you an email.
      My email is: fordoorman@gmail.com
      Thanks again,
      Tom

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