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    • #10504
      lonewolf82
      Participant

      I have recently been helping sand blast an old bell for our school system. We have been wondering how to obtain a history of this bell. It is a large bell with writing along the top which says American Bell Company and we believe the date to be 1887. Also near the top of the bell is a large number 28. Any help on how I might obtain information on this bells history would be appreciated.

    • #12873
      Neil Goeppinger
      Participant

      Dear Sir or Madam, I assume your bell came from the American Bell Foundry Co of Northville, Michigan. However, there was also an American Bell Co of New York City. The former made lots of bells, the latter did not. The 28 on it should refer to the approximate diameter of the opening of the mouth of the bell in inches. At 28″, that is as large as iron and steel school bells were made. From 30″ on up they were church or fire bells. The school bells were cast thinner so people would recognize their distinctive sound and not confuse them with the church, fire, or community meeting bells.

      Since iron and steel bells normally did not have unique inscriptions on them (the name of the school for instance), they were often made up ahead of time and shipped when an order was received. Because of this, unless someone knows the history of the individual bell you have, it is not possible to get it. What is possible is to get information on the foundry which made the bell. I have a pretty good history of the Northville foundry, but just a little on the New York firm. Can you identify which one made the bell? Normally the city would be on the yoke along with the company name. — Neil Goeppinger

    • #12874
      lonewolf82
      Participant

      Thank you for responding. The bell is currently being painted at a local factory and I have no access to it. When I do I will look more closely for the name of a city. The bell however is in bad shape and the lettering on the yoke is hard to read. I thought I saw the state of Ohio on the yoke but am not sure so did not add that information. It is discoraging to hear that no info for school bells is available and I fear no one is left that remembers when or where it came from but I will continue to look. Thank you again.

    • #12875
      Neil Goeppinger
      Participant

      Sometimes if you have a hard time reading the lettering on corroded iron, making a rubbing using the side of a pencil lead and a sheet of paper will make clear what you can’t read, or at least make enough clear so you can figure out the rest. — Neil

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