Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Need info on bell by Rumsey & Co Seneca Falls, NY

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    • #10503

      I have acquired a bell from a now closed Methodist Church building in Shell Beach California that started life as a one-room school house (Belleview School, Avila/Pismo Beach) built in 1863 and used as a school up until 1946 when it was converted to a church. The bell appears to be iron or steel and is cast with the name “Rumsey & Co Seneca Falls, NY” as well as the number 20. Is there any thing you can tell me about the maker or the possible year the bell was cast? Are there other resources you might recommend I query?

    • #12869
      Neil Goeppinger

      Hello Randy, The 20 on your bell should correspond with the approximate diameter of the opening of the mouth of your bell in inches. At 20″, that would be the smallest of the school bells (normally 20″ through 28″).

      Rumsey & Co was located at 19 Dey Factory, Seneca Falls (later part of N.Y. City), and moved to 93 Liberty, N.Y. City sometime between 1882 and 1887. They also made pumps. The years I know they were in business were from 1870 to 1887. I do not know when they started or ended.

      In 1870 they advertised 13″ diam to 42″ diam (980 lbs, 1,276 lbs with yoke and frame) Steel Amalgam Bells. Church bell sizes 30″, 34″, 38″ and 42″, Fire Alarm bell sizes 25″, 27″, 30″, 34″, 38″ and 42″, School & Factory bell sizes 25″, 27″. In 1870 the name was “Rumsey & Co”.
      — Neil Goeppinger

    • #12871

      I know this post is nearly 10 years old, but I just picked up a very similar bell. It has 2.0 embossed on the bowl, but is only 14 3/4″ across at the bottom. I’m guessing it was switched at some point. How else can I tell who made this bell?

    • #12870

      I saw a Rumsey &Co no 8 which was over 31 inches and I have noticed that Goulds MGF back then had the same shape as the Rumsey Bells. I have a Goulds that looks just like Rumsey’s no 8.

    • #12872
      Neil Goeppinger

      Iron and steel dinner bells ran from 12″ to 18″ and often the bell foundry would have their own numbering system for them. A common system was to make dinner bells at 12″, 14″ 16″ and 18″ and to designate them as 1, 2, 3, and 4, but sometimes 4 was largest and sometimes 1 was largest. I am guessing the 2 on your bell designated the dinner bell size for the firm which make it. The fact your bell is a 1/4″ smaller than 16″ is likely because the mold was 16″, but as molten metal cools it shrinks. I ran into this making some bell mounting parts. — Neil

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