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    • #11072
      gilldawg79
      Participant

      Hi all, I’m new to the discussion and here looking for info/advice on what to do with our bell. I am a member of Livingston United Methodist Church in Livingston, AL. We are in our third sanctuary, current one about 100 years + or-. However, our bell is from the beginning and has been removed from our belfry today. A couple of years ago our preacher was watching “Dirty Jobs” on The Discovery Channel and the host, Mike Rowe, went out on a job with a man that was inspecting/cleaning bells. In our Board of Trustees meeting the preacher asked if anybody has taken a look at our bell and come to find out nobody has been in the belfry in years. So, we decided to call on the same company and to our dismay he told us not to ring it anymore due to it being very dangerous. I went up and inspected it myself and found that to be very true. The yolk had deteriorated significantly and was just barely hanging on by the brackets holding the wooden yolk together. So, we put some big timbers underneath it to hold it tight against the foor of the belfry and decided we would take it down when we could decide on doing something with it outside our church.

      Well, today we lowered it out of the belfry without a hitch. It was about a 40′ lowering job done with chain hoists and come-alongs, but it all worked as planned. The only bad thing was that we had to cut the wheel in two to get it out and down. We will have somebody fix that. I know it won’t be totally original, but it was un-avoidable.

      The bell is a Holbrook Bell. Cast in the bell is, ” G H HOLBROOK EAST MEDWAY, MASS 1839 . Any info on the bell and advice on what to do with it on the ground would be great!

      Jimmy

    • #14500
      hjlong
      Member

      This is a beautiful bell. I would recommend cleaning it, varnishing the yoke, and placing it in a place of honor in a social hall or the sanctuary where the congregation can see it, touch it and appreciate it . It is an important part of your church history and should be so honored. The yoke may need to be reinforced if it is loose. You could rebuild the yoke and lift the bell back into the bellfry, but no one would be able to appreciate its beauty. Most modern churches do not ring their bells to bring their parishioners to church since most parishioners do not live close enough to hear the bell. This is a bell that should be honored and appreciated by all who see it.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #14501
      hjlong
      Member

      Just a word about Holbrook bells: Major George Holbrook learned bell founding under the mentorship of Paul Revere and started casting bells on his own in Brookfield, MA between 1779-1816. In 1816 he moved his bell foundry to East Medway, MA. Major Holbrook was suceeded in the business successively by his son Col George Handel Holbrook, grandson Edwin Lafayette Holbrook, Esq., and greatgrandson Edwin Handel Holbrook. The design of his bells is similar to the design of Revere bells making them highly sought after by collectors. The foundry operated under the management of Holbrook family members until 1880 when it closed. You may wish to Google Holbrook Bell Foundry for more detail.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #14502
      gilldawg79
      Participant

      What would a bell like this be worth? We (LUMC) have some members that are curious and would like to know. It may make us re-think our plans on what to do with it.

    • #14503
      hjlong
      Member

      For a good bronze bell we usually estimate at a minimum $100/pound. However, the fact that this is a Holbrook bell, and in good condition, the value would be somewhat higher. There are various ways to value bells: 1)scrap price which is the current per pound price for bronze that you can get from a scrap metal dealer(this would be a tragic loss), 2)collector’s price which is whatever a bell collector is willing to spend to own this beautiful bell, 3) price that a bell resale dealer is willing to pay in order to recondition the bell for resale (usually about 1/2 of the resale value), and 4) historic/sentimental price which is what your parishoners should be considering. The latter is the cost to the congregation of losing a piece of your history. That is why I previously suggested that you clean it up and give it an honored place in your facility that will serve as a focal point of your history so that your members can learn of their roots and cherish those who came before them and had the forsight to form a church that continues to this day. It could form the center of a historical display or church history center.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #14504
      gilldawg79
      Participant

      I completely agree, but some of the younger members just look at it as a piece of metal, thats it. They think that we could get something positive out of it by selling and donating proceeds to a Methodist philanthropy. I tend to disagree. I have brought up cleaning the bell and reconditioning it, and some like that idea. Others think we should leave it just the way it is. We are forming a commitee to discuss it, and I hope we can come up with a good solution. Will we be hurting the value by cleaning it up? I understand if we keep it than it really doesn’t matter. I saw Brosarms (sp) website, and like the way they refinish them and euip them with a clapper pedal to ring if we were to put it back outside, but I would be worried about theft…As heavy as it is though, that would be a colossal task. I believe the measurements on that bell were: 32″ tall and about 29″ in diameter. I lowered it and I believe it was in the half ton range…Any thoughts?

    • #14505
      hjlong
      Member

      If you find an area to display it indoors, you will want to clean it up and seal the wooden yoke and coat the yoke with a clear acrylic. Bob Brosamer purchases old bells, reconditions them, and sells them fully reconditioned. He does a beautiful job, but his work is time consuming and costly. Other dealers of reconditioned bells do the same. A commercial firm that refurbishes bells for churches is the Verdin Company in Cincinnati, OH. I hope that you can convince your church members to save this part of your history. A few thousand dollars will be disipated quickly, but your history is forever.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #14499
      lucky13
      Member

      Jimmy: I agree with Dr Long. Display the bell inside, not outside. It would be a shame if it was stolen and larger bells than this have been stolen in recent years due to the increase in the value of copper. If you want to re-install it in your tower I advise using a professional restorer. They can fit it with new custom-made steel hardward. Much safer than a wood yoke. Look at my 1807 ship bell post in this forum to see what your bell would look like polished and lacquered. It’s also a job for professionals. Brasso, Simichrome, and other similar store-bought polishes won’t remove 170 years of oxidation. There’s no need to have the interior polished. There are probably several metal restoration services in your state. Also, I think Dr Long mean’t $100 an inch (bottom dia) instead of $100 a pound.

    • #14506
      nightflier51
      Participant

      Please for what ever you do, if you display it, have it ringable. Too many bells are brought down and displayed sitting on a table or stone block and people never get to hear these fine pieces. Just think, people of 100 yrs ago who are dead and gone have heard this same bells tone and you and others can hear the same tone they heard that long ago. Ron Delby

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