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      Brian wrote:

      I have been trying to find information about some Kentucky type stock bells which I bought from America. They have J.HOLMES & Co. stamped on them. I have three from different parts of the US, they are well made, heavy bells and appear to be very old. I tried to find something out about them through the Bell Tower magazine with no success. I don’t know if you could help me or would know of anyone I could contact about these bells. I would appreciate it very much if you had any information that would help. I live in the southern part of New South Wales, Australia and am a stock bell collector.

      In his next e-mail, Brian wrote:

      They are quite a unique bell and it is a wonder that they are so hard to trace. I have asked some Australian bell collectors but they hadn’t heard of them at all. Do you know of Donald Cooney, from Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia? He had an article printed in the Bell Tower magazine and has written a very good book about Australian stock bells mainly but also some English and American bells. I was speaking to him on the phone this morning and asked about Holmes bells (again), he still had no news for me. He is thinking of bringing out an updated book because he has heard of so many more bells since it came out in 2005. Hopefully he will do this. The book we have is called “Bells of the Australian Bush.”

      With his photos, Brian wrote:

      We have finally got some photos of the J. Holmes & Co. bells ready to send. Some more details about the bells: The two large bells are 7 inches from bottom to shoulder (not including the loop), across the mouth they 5.5 inches by 4 inches. They weigh 3lbs. The top of these bells is very narrow and the loops are made from a rounded steel, not flat. The side folds, as can be seen in the photo, cut back at the bottom.

      The smaller bell does not look quite as old as the other two and is slightly different. 5 and three quarter inches bottom to shoulder. Across the mouth 5 inches by 3 and a quarter inches. It weighs 2lbs. The loop material is more oval than round so it looks flatter than the others. The top of the bell is wider. All the bells are made of a heavier metal than other Kentucky type bells.

      The maker’s stamps on the big bells are very small, J.Holmes & Co, about an inch and a quarter long running up from the bottom of the bell, not across it. It is very fine and not always easy to see at first. The small bell has the same stamp but the size of the print is larger. We have not been able to see a number or anything else on them.

      Thank you again for your help, I hope this arrives safely and enables someone to find out the information about their maker for us. Kind regards from Brian

      Can you help solve Brian’s mystery?


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

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