Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums General `Bell Stuff` New bell owner questions

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    • #12401

      The museum where I work is having the cupola on a reconstructed building repaired. The bell placed there in 1976 was an 1805 bronze bell that had previously been on an historic building in town that had been demolished a century ago. Since the bell needed some repairs to its mounting and its wooden base needed a complete rebuilding, we opted for a less historic cast iron bell. Wanting to accomplish this as fast as possible while the 80′ lift is there, I hastily purchased a Jenny Manning tower bell from eBay. With shipping it was a whopping $800. That aside, the diameter of the bell is 20″. The uprights read: #4 UPRIGHT 1886. They appear to have been sandblasted and spray painted recently, while the bell and the yoke haven’t. While not important, do you think that the uprights are original to the bell? Next question: The rope arm appears to not be original to the yoke. The yoke has a tapered square end, while the arm has a tapered round hole with a keyway. It clearly has been with the yoke for a while and there’s no reason that it couldn’t work. Maybe some filing and possibly a set screw. What is the normal position for the arm? Sticking out level, 45 degrees, or what? (While waiting for this bell to arrive, I found a similar tower bell with a circular arm for the rope that was $450….grrrrrr…….it’s still there.)

    • #17765
      Carolyn Whitlock

      Dear DKinYORKpa,

      You probably haven’t received any responses to your questions because you haven’t given the kind of information that could lead anyone to give you either correct information or an educated guess based on experience. That’s why we stress the importance of posting a picture of your bell. You seem to know the maker is Jenny Manning and that it is 20″ in diameter. The upright says “#4 UPRIGHT 1886” but doesn’t seem to have a maker’s name on it. If you could post a picture of your bell and its uprights, someone might be able to answer your question.

      “The rope arm appears to not be original to the yoke.”

      Without seeing the bell, the uprights, and the arm, we can’t tell you if they belong together or not.

      As an aside, regarding what you paid for the bell, I’d like to point out that your experience is an example of what we often say about the value of a bell:

      The value of a bell is the price someone is willing to pay for it on any given day.

      When a big bell is shipped, it costs a lot of money because the bell is so heavy. I’m sure it also depends on the mode of transportation, whether or not machinery is required to lift the bell onto and off of a truck, the number of people required to move it, and the distance it has to travel. So, whatever you chose to pay for your bell is what the value was on that day.

      Part of the game of collecting is the fact that one is always likely to find the same bell at a cheaper price and, perhaps, in better condition. Each of us has had to make the decision to buy the first one we see or wait and hope to find the same or similar bell later. In your case, time was of the essence and that influenced your decision.

      One last thing, in our Frequently Asked Questions section, https://www.americanbell.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=639, you will see a listing of information that we need to identify a bell. Those guidelines apply to questions about repair, restoration, parts, and cleaning, too.

      Hopefully, by now, your new-to-you bell is in its cupola and being enjoyed by many. We do enjoy hearing back from people who let us know how their issue was resolved.

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