Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Old Mission Bell??? (or could it be a locomotive bell?)

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    • #10689

      Hello All… my latest addition to my collection, and I would like your opinion regarding age and make.

      The bell is bronze, weights 130lbs with its iron hanger, is 18″ high overall, and the diameter is a little over 15 inches.

      My questions are:

      Your best guess as to age?

      Given it’s ornamentation, do you have a clue to it’s maker? (you will note the four rings on the sound bow and also -hard to see- on the top)

      Also, did makers fashion their own distinctively shaped clappers?

      Regards, Robert

      (images deleted)

    • #13324
      Peter Hyde

      Great bell.

      Not made in UK is about the only thing I can say. That narrows it down a bit!

      Hope someone can help.


    • #13325

      Thanks, Peter. To help fill the void in my underlying knowledge of bells (odd how I have begun to collect something about which I have so little understanding), what makes it “not made in the UK?”


    • #13326

      This is a beautiful bell. Given its style and size I would think that it is a railroad bell vintage 1850-1860 or a ship’s bell. Railroad bells of that vintage often had rings on the skirt and were anchored to the boiler by Vertical Decorative Bronze Pillars rather than the elaborate scroll work harps that were typical of the 1860-1870s.
      HJLong, MD

    • #13327

      Thanks, Dr. Long. In your view, is the yoke or the fixture-part of the bell relevant? I thought I read somewhere that railroad bells were made with a single bolt that passed through a tapered top casting, allowing the bell to be rotated in it’s yoke to enable even wear of the bell where the clapper strikes. That may or may not be true.

      I don’t think I have seen any mid 19th c. railroad bells. Are they rare, or just buried in collections?


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