Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells Need help identifying the maker and age of this 8" BRASS BELL (SHIP-?)

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    • #24071

      I am hoping someone can shed some light on this 8″ Brass bell (7″ High) as far as who the maker was, and what yar / era it was made. I’ve been searching and searching and getting no where on my search here.Looks to be hammer at one time at the top and the bottom has a flat looking rest? It has been recently cleaned up by a Clock maker friend of mind who dipped it in the same mixture used to clean those old grandfather & Wall clock mechanisms, which come out VERY WOW clean looking! I have attached pictures and hopefully someone out there knows the answers about this BELL ( Weigh’s about 4.2 lbs.). Has a old engraving on it stamped ” William’s SALTWATER CATFISH CAMP”, which someone had put on this bell at one time.

    • #24072
      Carolyn Whitlock


      As you can see, your pictures were too large to be posted. If you can’t re-size them, please send them to coordinator@americanbell.org and we’ll see if we can help you get them posted.


    • #24073

      Here are the photos

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    • #24135


      You do have what appears to originally intended to be a ships bell. This size is typically for vessels (in the USA) of between 40 and 65 feet in length. It’s a cast bell (please try it with a strong magnet to see if there is a lot of iron in the mix), which does suggest a small fishing craft and ties in nicely with the ‘fish camp’ markings you found. The clapper, I suggest, is a replacement as most had a solid bar with the ball on the end, and were brass, for ships. (brass doesn’t corrode in salt water spray) So the iron clapper (it holds a magnet right?) should be expected to show a lot of rust if the bell was used much on a salt water ship.

      The ‘quality’ of the brass pour isn’t looking so hot – a lot of air pockets (rough spots) on the outside of your bell, so I’d suggest some local foundry for that area, which specializes in other types of metal work mostly. It’s not bad, but it’s not high end. How does it sound? (good ring? overtones/reverberations? holds the note for a few seconds?) That gives an idea of how good the metal is.

      You might see what you can search out about the fish camp. (contact people in the area, contact the business registry, other fish camps in the area, that kind of thing). They might be able to tell you when it closed and perhaps put you in touch with someone who knows something about your find.

      All the above said, I suspect that you have a bell that was purchased used / damaged (ie no clapper) by the camp and used on shore as a call to dinner type bell. It was originally designed as a ships bell, but either the poor pour or a damaged clapper that likely relegated it to a shore function. If you can find it’s history, you would have a great conversation piece and it would add value to the bell!

      It’s age is more problematical but from what parts I can see, I’d feel it’s manufacture was probably shortly after wwII, so 1950’s ish.

      Disclaimer: please remember that it is very difficult to be precise or sure based upon a couple photos and a brief description. You are only getting a guess from me based upon what I think I can see in the photos and your description. The intent is only to help give you direction for you to start looking in more profitable directions.

      Hope this is of value to you!

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Garry.
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