My Pennsylvania Railroad Bell Restoration
Tagged: Steam Locomotive Bell
February 7, 2020 at 11:17 am #29729
Hello and thanks for looking! I’m an aviator by trade but my passion has always been for steam railroading. I’ve restored a handful of bells over the years and use them as modern industrial artwork in my exceptionally clean and modern home. I think these bells are pretty stunning.
I recently completed a 13 month restoration on a Pennsylvania Railroad steam locomotive bell. There is a number stamped on the shoulder of the bell which is a bit unclear. It may have come from a relatively famous locomotive – this may explain why it escaped the scrapper’s torch. The locomotive was retired around 1955. Where this bell spent the last 65 years is a mystery. I purchased it from an auction house in Michigan.
If anyone has any thoughts or information on this bell I’d be most interested. Attached is a “Before” and “After” photo of the project.
I have created a fourteen minute YouTube video about the restoration and possible history of the bell. Please feel free to have a look!
Thanks for your time and consideration!
Pete in Orlando, Florida
- This topic was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by myprrbell.
February 7, 2020 at 5:31 pm #29733Carl Scott ZimmermanParticipant
Very nice looking! And after watching the excellent video of your thorough restoration, I’m sure that your analysis of probable modifications during the bell’s life are accurate. I suspect that the odd projections on the support leg nearest the wheel were originally intended to carry a steam cylinder arranged to swing the bell semi-automatically.
February 8, 2020 at 10:11 am #29736
Thank you, Mr. Zimmerman, for your kind comments – I appreciate you taking the time to watch the video. The purpose of my very first video effort was twofold. First, I’m thirsty to find out where this bell went following her retirement from the Pennsylvania Railroad – I’m confident that someone knows. Secondly, I wanted to demonstrate that even a hobbyist with basic tools and skills can make an ugly worn bell look pristine. Truthfully, I really enjoyed bringing this bell back to life and it is my hope that my enthusiasm is demonstrated in the video.
I’m not familiar with steam operated ringing mechanisms and would be grateful if anyone would care to comment further. To the best of my limited knowledge most automated bells were pneumatic (air) driven. I’ve attached a photo of a standard PRR bell. This image comes from Brosamer’s Bells. You can see the small dual arm extending from the leg of the cradle. This arm was partially amputated on my bell presumably to accommodate the non-standard wheel. I knew when I bought this bell that the wheel would be controversial – but then again I love a good mystery!
- This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by myprrbell.
February 8, 2020 at 10:34 am #29743
My apologies but I seem to have been defeated by the technology on this forum. After multiple attempts the new images I have tried to upload don’t appear (even though they are present in my “Reply” draft and are sized correctly).
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