Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Repair, Restoration, Parts, Cleaning Need Help/Advice with a 42" American Bell Foundry Co

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    • #11876

      We have a “Victory Bell” at Arizona State University that has been used for years to signal a football win. Unfortunately through neglect no one really knowing how to take care of the bell (and some moving around) the bell has a significant crack in it. Any suggestions as to how to get this fixed? The bell obviously has historic and sentimental value, so restoration would be preferred over replacement but I realize this might not be possible.
      Also, any suggestions as to the mounting? Is this how the bell should be mounted or is there a better way?

      Thanks for your help and advice.

    • #16583

      Also, any information on the bell? I’m guessing Cast Steel, but any other noteworthy info would be greatly appreciated.

    • #16584

      The crack is the result of over aggressive ringing. The crack is in the actual bell and will cost more to fix than the bell is worth. Welding will not be adequate and wil result in further cracking. A suitable repair will require heating the entire bell to red hot and welding while hot followed by slow cooling. There are few companies that will do this particularly for such a large bell. You can either use it as a historical display and purchase another bell for ringing or you can try to find a foundry willing to repair it. There is a company listed elsewhere in this forum. In the search box above list “repair of cracked bell”.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #16582

      Don’t suppose you could help me with just a ballpark figure for what you might expect the repair to cost?
      Also, is there any way to find out what kind of metal the bell is made of? Really don’t know much of anything about bells unfortunately.

    • #16585
      Carolyn Whitlock

      I was doing a little search on this website for American Bell Foundry of Northville, MI, and found some interesting info at viewtopic.php?f=5&t=493. One of the postings there said the bells made by this company were cast iron but I can’t verify that. Hopefully, someone else can.

      It sounds like it may be time for the Sun Devils to retire this bell and put it on display in the team’s “Hall of Fame” or in a place of honor in the athletic facility. Then hold a fund raiser and buy a new bell for use by the 21st Century Sun Devils! It will be disheartening if you pay a lot to have it repaired only to have it break again.

      Others could advise you better than I as to the wisdom of having it melted down and recast.

      Good luck! Let us know what you decide to do!


    • #16586

      The result is a 50 – 50 chance if you plan to have it welded. The lip alone is around 3 inches thick. A lot of metal rods etc. I fixed our church bell that was a Rumsey&Co no 8 which is 33 inches. I used a grinder and ground a crevice where the crack was all the way through and they ring it every Sunday. It used to make a wreched “crash bunk” sound but now it has a bong sound and better sounding. They have rung it for 14 years and no further cracking has occurred. If the crack is straight up and not zig zag this method can be done. Do not drive spikes in it like the Liberty Bell, they will put viboration stress and the crack will spread. I believe that’s what happened to the Liberty bell when they tried to fix it when it cracked even more.. Leave the crevice open. This method is the cheapest way. Recasting would be another method and very expensive. Thousands of dollars. I believe your bell is iron. Recasting would be like using your bell for a mold pattern for the mold and then breaking it up and adding extra metal to it and melting the pieces down and repouring it whole again. If the company is honest, they will see that your old bell metal went into the melting pot. Hope I have helped.

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