Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Bell Foundries, Manufacturers and Artisans L. F. Shapleigh Hdw, St. Louis, MO Bell

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    • #10911

      Hunt in Mississippi writes:

      I recently bought this bell at a farm eq. auction. The only stamping I have found so far is L.F. SHAPLEIGH HDW ST.LOUIS MO #4 1886. I was hoping you might could tell me anything about this bell, as I am a farmer and do not know a lot about the internet. I grew up on a large farm and we had a bell like this and would like to know as much as I could. I realize that this bell may not be worth much but it brings back alot of memories for me. Thank you for taking a look at this, it has been worrying me ever since I bought it, again THANK YOU. Hunt

      Click on these links to see pictures of Hunt’s farm bell:



      If you can help, please post a response.

      This inquiry was originally sent to the ABA’s Internet Coordinator. Responses are opinions of individuals based on their personal research and knowledge.


    • #13951
      Neil Goeppinger

      Carl S. Zimmerman has researched the firms which made and sold bells in the St Louis area and he would have the most complete information on firms there. I emailed him and told him about your inquiry. He is presently away for a few weeks so I think you should look for a reply in about a month. Carl has climed more towers to look at bells than anyone I know. I hope he can help you.

      My guess is your bell was made by either the American Bell Foundry of Northville, Michigan or the C. S. Bell Co of Hillsboro, Ohio and delivered to this hardware store with their name on it. Please try a magnet on it so you can let Carl know if it is steel or iron, or if it is bronze. It won’t stick if it is bronze. The American Bell Foundry made their bells of iron and the C. S. Bell Co made theirs of steel. Both materials are very similar in a bell. — Neil

    • #13952
      Neil Goeppinger

      Carl Zimmerman replied while on the road, that he has record of the Shapleigh firm, but will have to wait till he has his research papers available to him in August to reply to you. He requested that you send him a picture of your bell at csz_stl@swbell.net
      — Neil

    • #13953

      Actually, the name is A. F. Shapleigh Hdw. Co. (for Hardware Company). Research on the history of this company is incomplete, but they were in business by the early 1870s, and continued at least until the late 1880s.

      From the style of Hunt’s bell and the only other Shapleigh bell I’ve seen, I’m confident that they were made for Shapleigh by C.S.Bell of Hillsboro, OH. That firm’s #4 bell was their smallest with A-frame hanging and also their largest with postmount hanging. All larger bells from C.S.Bell, and all A-frame-hung steel bells from other makers, bear size numbers which are the approximate diameter of the bell in inches (and always even numbers).

      Even though the bell carries the Shapleigh name, it must have been a very minor part of their trade. This firm never was classified under Bells in the city directories, and their display advertisements in those directories never mentioned bells. But like a half-dozen other St.Louis firms, their product range was very wide – not just hardware as we now define it, but also other durable goods and various kinds of supplies.

      Hunt is fortunate to have all the original fittings – bell, yoke, A-frames and clapper. Not everyone does! (Incidentally, the darker metal thing between the bell and the A-frames in one of the photos is very odd. I don’t know what it is, but it has nothing to do with the bell.) With some gentle rust removal followed by painting with a good quality rustproofing paint, you’ll have a very nice historical item to display and use.

      Thanks for providing the photos, Hunt!

    • #25365

      I have a #3 A.F.Shapleigh and I agree with Carl they were made by C.S.BELL.

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    • #25449

      I noticed that Lakeside No4 looks like CS Bell Co bell as well as American Casting Co Did the other companies make a deal to use same patterns?

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