Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Locomotive Bell 16"

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    • #11760
      jgunn
      Member

      I own a 16″ brass (I think) locomotive bell that has been in our family for about 42 years. It was acquired by my parents from a railroad friend in E. Peoria, IL. It was probably from the P&PU (Peoria and Pekin Union) or TP&W (Toeldo Peoria and Western) railroad. I have moved it a couple times and always thought I would make a nice brick stand for it in the yard. Well that never happened. I am moving to a townhouse with very little yard and don’t want to move it again. Its weights a lot, maybe 200-300 pounds. The base is curved so I am assuming it was mounted on a steam locomotive. Are bells like this in demand? I have no idea of its monitary worth. There are some numbes on the yoke, but the paint would need to be removed to make them out clearly. Any information would be appreciated. [attachment=0:2f4m0csg]Picture0001.jpg[/attachment[attachment=0]k45497.jpg[/attachment:2f4m0csg]

    • #16363
      PRRcollector
      Participant

      This is a Pennsylvania Railroad steam locomotive bell probably made in the 1920s or 1930s. Many of the PRR bells have a JN for Juniata Shops or AMS for Altoona Machine Shop stamped into the top of the bronze. You may also find a locomotive number stamped into the bronze bell. The numbers on the yoke are the casting numbers. They may sell from $1000 to $3000. I bought my first PRR bell for $125.00 fifty years ago. It was my first bell and is still in my collection.

    • #16365
      jgunn
      Member

      Thanks for the info., I wonder how it ended up in E. Peoria? Do you think other locomotives had the same bell type or was this type only on PRR locomotives? The Bell is stamped with a number, its 5497. Do you think e-Bay is the best place to sell it? There is one just like it on e-bay now with a reserve of $4,500. Seems high to me.

      Thanks much!

      Jerry Gunn

    • #16366
      Carolyn Whitlock
      Participant

      Jerry,

      I am curious to know — does this bell swing in it’s bracket? In the picture, the bell looks like it doesn’t have any room to move.

      Carolyn

    • #16367
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Jerry,

      If you go to the website for Railroadiana Online http://railroadiana.org, you might find their section on “What’s it Worth” to be helpful.

      Admin (Carolyn)

    • #16368
      jgunn
      Member

      I took a look at the RED painted underside over the weekend. The clapper arrears to be semi-rigid. It must be connected to the arm/shaft which rotates inside the yoke sleeve. Its painted over and does not move at this point.

      Jerry Gunn

    • #16369
      jgunn
      Member

      This is sooo cool. With the information you provided and the Engine Number, I was able to find a lot of info. The bell appears to be from the PRR Spirit of St. Louis, Engine #5497. The Engine was involved in a wreck in Brookeville, OH with an auto on Labor Day (9-3-1945). There are 4 pictures here: http://www.northeast.railfan.net/wrecks3.html. You can even see the bell. The pictures appear to be from the Brookville Historical Society.

      I will be going through Brookville In May and will stop there and take a look.

      Wow….. Thanks for all you help.

      I

    • #16370
      jgunn
      Member

      Carolyn, Hmmm. I wonder how it works. There is the lever arm which would be one way to ring it. Also there is is threaded pipe on the other side. Could this be a steam fitting to actuate the bell? Maybe PRRcollector knows how it works.

      Jerry Gunn

    • #16364
      92hatchattack
      Participant

      Very nice! the k4s locomotives were the work horse off the PRR railroad. They were most likely the most famous PRR locomotives ever built! I belive there were over 400 of these locomotives built, with only 2 of them surviving the scrap yard. One is a static display outside the railroad musuem in Strasburg PA, and the other was a planned restoration that Steamtown failed miserably at, and will now most likely never run again.

    • #16371
      hjlong3
      Participant

      Many of these bells had a hydraulic piston that moved the clapper when activated rather than ringing the bell with a lanyard as in previous models.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #16362
      PRRcollector
      Participant

      The PRR bells are the only ones that I’ve seen with the large bearings with removable caps. They even have babbited bearings that could be replaced by pouring new ones. Most of the modern steam locomotve bells have the air ringer and could be rung by air or by pulling the rope manually. It was certainly easier to open the air valve to keep the bell ringing while approaching or leaving the station. A little oil on the air ringer will probably free it. I’ve tested all of my PRR bells that have the air ringer and they all still operate. I have a few early PRR bells that don’t have the air ringer.
      K4s #5497 was construction number 4186 built in the PRR Juniata Shops in February 1928. It was removed from the roster and retired in April 1958.

    • #16372
      jgunn
      Member

      prrcollector…wow, thanks for all the information. I am trying to arrange a donation to the Brookville Historical Society railroad depot museum in Brookville, OH where the train derailed on Sept. 3, 1945. I guess they have lots of information and pictures of the derailment. A spokesmans said it was the biggest thing that ever happened in Brookville.

      Jerry Gunn

    • #16373
      jgunn
      Member

      The PRR Bell from engine # 5497 has been donated to the Brookville, OH Historical Society. Its now resides in their railroad depot museum. They were very appreciative. Thanks to all of you who helped identify and find a good home for it.

      Sincerely, Jerry Gunn

    • #16374
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Thanks for the follow-up note, Jerry!

      Admin (Carolyn)

    • #16375
      MEACHAM
      Participant

      my dad c.a. meacham was on “the spirit of st. louis” 5497…it was a double header going west on labor day morning, 1945. i have all the original photos by prr camera man and the original ground and aerial photos by the dayton,ohio paper..they did full coverage by several pages. the brookville historical soc. has my copies and i have what they had.
      it was a major wreck, only one young mother killed in auto..7 in car…(doing this by memory)…engine 5497 was “crumbled” but re-built and put back in service. both engines were broken up real badly.
      there is absolutely no reorting of this wreck except “minor news articals of about 3 inch column” , no int,comm. report etc., only surmise the japan surrender over-rode the wreck brookille site mentions it. i finally got a few on a “train wrecks site”
      i was surprised to see this site when searching “engine 5497” there are a couple of photos of the engine on the web.
      the “spirit of st louis” was envolved in a couple of other wrecks, one very bad one, killed about 30 soldiers (?) its on the web.
      if any would help get all the info i have web publihsed, i’d appreciate that..the history should not be lost.
      glad this person donated the bell…without looking, i’m pretty certain the “bell” is in the photo on the “wreck site”
      i was nine, saw the wreck only a short time after it happened.
      contact leon meacham @ cocoa1338@aol.co

    • #16376
      Carolyn Whitlock
      Participant

      Fascinating story, Leon! Thank you for sharing it with us!

      Carolyn

    • #16377
      RockinEZ
      Participant

      Very nice story. I love the history side of this hobby more than anything. The photos at the link were interesting.

      I found this page describing how railroad engine bells work. I posted it for another topic, but it also fits here.
      http://www.bellsandbirmans.com/bells/bellfacts.php

      They are complicated, and very interesting.

    • #16378
      ctscorpio
      Participant

      I have a similar bell that is from the PRR, could not find markings on it. The cradle with it has the letter B with a 163, just trying to find more info on it.

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