Joe R. writes:
Attached are a few pictures of a bell that I was given as a gift recently from a friend who knows I collect bells. There are two same bells and she thinks they came from a NYC trolley. There is a plate on each bell with the dates 1917-1963 and a serial number of some sort. Any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
If you can help, please post a response.
This inquiry was originally sent to the ABA’s Internet Coordinator. Responses are opinions of individuals based on their personal research and knowledge.
Is it possible to get a shot of the plate with the dates/serial number? Or at least the number itself?
Is it possible to also get a closer photo of the inside mounting of the bell? (The underside too.)
I am wondering if it’s possible that the bell was mounted upside down?
Here is a video on streetcar bell ringing that is great for showing the two main types of bells usually mounted on the street cars:
The inside one is rung by the conductor at the back. Usually 1 ring for “next stop” and 2 rings for “go” so that the Gripman (driver) knows when to stop and start. You see it mounted to the ceiling above the driver if you look closely.
The Gripman, driver at the front, has an outside bell to ring Dome shaped too, but not inverted like this one. It’s for warning those ahead of the car of it’s approach. This is the bell that the guys in the movie are ringing so artistically. you see it in the outside shots.
The bell you have shown here looks more like an inside bell (Where there’s no water to collect in the ‘cup’!). I don’t see it in any of the Cable car shots I can find. I am thinking that the number you are talking about might be a patent number that would give a clue as to what it was made for.
I am looking further afield now, in other areas I think it is more likely used.