This bell has been in our family for over 80 years. It weighs about 20 lbs and measures 10″ at its base, 5″ at the crown and is 7 1/2″ from bottom to crown and another 5″ to the top of the ring. My father found it on a beach in New England sometime between 1910 and 1920 (I think). Can you shed any light on its origin?
Apparently it was originally a U.S.Navy ship’s bell. The Navy seems to have bought bare bells and then engraved U.S.N. (and sometimes also the ship’s name) on them. If a bell had the maker’s identification in raised lettering (as was customary for most bellfoundries) then that was removed with a grinder before the bell was installed on the ship.
Since your bell apparently does not have a ship’s name engraved on it, there is almost certainly no possibility of tracing it further.
To find something this large and heavy on a beach, without any evidence of damage from being rolled through rocks and sand by the waves, it must have been part of a wrecked ship that had been beached.