Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells How were large, iron bells made?

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    • #11019

      Robert writes:

      Do you know how large iron bells were made? Is 48″ the largest? I am going to write a story of the bells of Logan County Arkansas, where I live in a community called Carbon City, after the old coal mines in the area. We have many bells in the county and many different churches, an abbey and an old convent.

      I am a winemaker by trade, and wear many hats. I have built a 35 foot bell tower for my bells and added two smaller towers and a chapel, as I am also an ordained minister. A very odd duck. 🙂


    • #14269

      Your bells are beautifully displayed. The “cast iron” bells were mass produced and were cast using a typical “Sand Casting” Process. Patterns for the individual parts were set into a mixture of fine grain foundry sand and linseed oil to form a mold. The pattern was removed and the parts of the mold assembled with a hollow outine of the bell in its center. Molten steel alloy was then poured into the mold, allowed to cool, and then the mold was broken releasing the rough cast bell or hardware. The rough edges were removed and smoothed, and then the bell was assembled and painted prior to shipping. These bells were a steel alloy rather than cast iron. Cast iron is quite brittle and will shatter when struck hard. It also has a clunky tone. The steel alloy of the CSBell Co. bells was a trade secret, although other companies had similar formulae. Thus the formula was probably not so secret. The cast steel bells have a crisp and piercing tone that made them ideal for long distance communication such as farm, school, and church bells. They were cheap to produce and were extremely popular because of the price. They do not have the many overtones that provide the musical quality of a good bronze bell. The bronze bells were/are individually cast, personalized, and are much more expensive to produce. Thus they are fewer in number and are only available to those organizations that can afford the higher price.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #14270

      Hi, I’m new in the American Bell Association and do not know many things about US bell foundries. I found a site in France and they have translated their documents in English, there is also a related link to a site in the USA (if I understood correctly). I suppose large metal bells are made the same way in Europe and in the USA but these sites might be of interest for you. So have a look at http://www.paccard.com (Fonderie Paccard, Annecy, France) and http://www.christophpaccard.com (somewhere in the USA).
      Sorry if I made some mistakes, English is not my mother language 🙂
      Merry Christmas from Belgium, Myriame_e

    • #14271

      Paccard produces bronze bells. They are individually cast and their molds are individually designed out of fire clay, thus they have a smooth finish after casting. This process is more time consuming and expensive than the mass produced sand-cast bells of CSBell Co. and others that cast steel bells.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #14272

      With at least 8 bells visible there, Robert’s towers deserve a page on the GCNA Website (under “collections”). If he wants the publicity, he should contact me – email csz_stl@swbell.net – it’s free!

    • #14273

      The C.S. Bell Company made a larger bell than #48. The largest C.S. Bell Co bell is a #54. The large bells are no longer in production, we continue to manufacture the small bells, #1,& #2.
      Sandra Wilson
      Prindle Station Bells
      P.O. Box 347
      22 Prindle Road
      Washougal, Wa 98671

    • #14274

      The biggest iron or steel bell I have is 255 cm (105″), weights about 8000 kg. It is the biggest of the set of five bells. More about those and some other bells http://www.vaskikello.com

    • #14275

      Vaskikello’s largest bell is also the largest bell in Finland. It is listed as among the great bells of Europe; see http://www.gcna.org/data/EUGreatBellsByCountry.html#FI for details, including links to photos and pages about other bells in Vaskikello’s marvelous collection.

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