Help researching history of Meneely Bell
June 23, 2015 at 1:55 pm #12581
My name is Angela Gaffney and I am the Director of Marketing & Communications at the Cambridge School of Weston in Weston, Massachusetts.
I’m looking for assistance with research on the history of a Meneely Bell that we have here on campus. The bell is inscribed with the following text:
From E. A. Goodnow
Come Let us Worship
Meneely Bell Company
The bell is 21″ high in the center and 19.5″ wide (or 39″ in circumference). The clapper you can see in the photo is not original to the bell.
Any information or assistance would be most appreciated.
June 23, 2015 at 8:55 pm #17997jackbellParticipant
This book was published in 1907. The article states that Mr Goodnow gave a chime of bells to the Plymouth Congregational Church (beginning with last paragraph on left side of page). Your bell is most- likely part of that chime.
June 23, 2015 at 9:20 pm #17998
Thanks for this research resource, jackbell.
For my own education, would that have been common practice for the bells that comprised a full chime to be separated and installed elsewhere as individual bells?
Again, many thanks!
June 23, 2015 at 9:40 pm #17999jackbellParticipant
I can find nothing about this church on the internet. There is a Pilgrim Congregational Church in Worcester. You might try contacting the historical society. I’m sure the city must have one. Plymouth was most-likely torn down or converted to another use and the bells were not given away or sold as a set which would not have been unusual.
June 23, 2015 at 9:52 pm #18000
Always learning new things! Thank you very much.
June 30, 2015 at 4:54 pm #18001Carl Scott ZimmermanParticipant
This bell cannot have come from the chime mentioned in previous comments. That had been donated to Plymouth Congregational Church in 1881, and the foundry logbook has no mention of any bell there being replaced. The church was renamed Plymouth-Piedmont in 1926, and razed in 1941; the bells were eventually relocated to a church Ohio, where they presumably remain.
From the inscription, it is clear that this bell was made for a church or chapel, and not as a plantation or alarm or factory bell. Given Mr. Goodnow’s known connection with the Worcester church, it is reasonable to guess that it was given to a church or chapel with a Congregational connection.
From the size of the bell, its weight can be estimated at about 150 to 160 pounds.
In the year 1902, the Meneely/Troy bellfoundry made 135 bells for a wide range of customers, in a wide range of sizes. The one which looks most likely to be this bell weighed 154 pounds, and was sent to the Congregational Chapel in Gloucester. (I have not attempted to investigate that chapel, and there are other possibilities, though they are less likely.) The logbook entry is dated March 19, 1902; but is isn’t known whether this was the date of the order or the date that the bell was shipped.
The clapper is indeed not original. It is much too large, and undoubtedly strikes the bell in the wrong place; it may eventually crack the bell. I recommend replacing it with a shorter and smaller clapper.
June 30, 2015 at 6:26 pm #18002
Thank you for your reply. I will follow-up on your research suggestion re: the Gloucester church. Thank you, too, for the note about the clapper being a risk for the structural integrity of the bell. I will definitely pass that information along to the appropriate grounds staff here.
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