We have a very old school bell that was purchased from a church in the 1890s. The bell was old at the time. The armature of the bell says “Cast steel by National Foundry Company, Cincinnati, Oh.” The top and the clapper both have the #36. If you can help with any information on this bell or how to track information down, we would be very grateful. Thank you
The number 36 refers to the diameter of the opening of the mouth of the bell in inches. By putting this on various parts of the bell, when assembling the workers wouldn’t put the wrong parts together. The information I have from the Cincinnati Historical Society does not jive with the dates in this email. They show the firm as having been in business from 1901 to 1921. They may have an error in their records as those are odd dates for a bell foundry to be in business. The hayday of bell making and sales was the decade of the 1880s (more congregations started during that decade than any other). By 1901, sales were dropping off rapidly and some firms were already out of business. Thus, I question the dates the Cincinnati Historical Society gave. I have a bell by this firm in my collection. They are cast iron.
This inquiry was originally sent to the ABA’s Internet Coordinator. The responses are are opinions of individuals based on their personal research and knowledge.