Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Bell Foundries, Manufacturers and Artisans "Rarest of the Rare Van Duzen bells" *

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    • #24704
      kcoonen
      Participant

      * Not my assessment, but that of the Van Duzen expert at Lowerbells, and and at his suggestion, I gladly offer it here.
      Advertised as an unidentified 22″ cast iron bell, painted well.
      The photos showed partially obscured lettering on the yoke.
      Two heavy bands of brazing, on each side of the main bolts, obliterated all lettering but T’D on one side, and ROT on the other.
      That was just enough to confirm my hunch that it was a Vanduzen with its distinctive ROTARY YOKE, and even more, its fine casting and bead lines circling the bell in Van Duzen style.
      I purchased it at the value of its listing in an on line auction, close enough to pick it up.
      Closer inspection at home while still on the tailgate made me wonder why it was listed as cast iron, when ALL VanDuzens I knew of were Bronze.
      Scraping through several layers of paint to dark bare metal… that held a magnet! Duhn duhn duuuuhn!
      The first time I used a sandblaster to clean a bell, and his results confirmed a beautiful, smooth, beaded bell cast of iron, or steel.
      No identifying lettering of any kind, inside or out, on the bell… none.
      But the shape, profile thickness, bead work, casting, all distinctly Van Duzen… style.
      In the accompanying photos, the slight coloration is fine surface corrosion which occurred over night in the back of an enclosed pick up truck bed. The photo of the chip sure makes the interior layer appear bronze-ish.
      But there’s the magnet that sticks, not incredibly tightly, but it sticks.
      Todd Lower postulated on several sources: a re-cast of a Van Duzen mold, by an outside founder at a client’s request to replace his or her prized bell…
      or perhaps an outside contract founder supplying cast iron parts to Van Duzen got involved…
      But Todd could not remember ever seeing or hearing of a cast iron Van Duzen bell of any kind, and noting founders never mixed their metals, only casting one or the other, confirming my own meager knowledge.
      If you have any knowledge of such a bell, or what this bell may be other than what it appears, please help out.
      OH, and Thanks, Todd.
      … and the photos:

      • This topic was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by kcoonen.
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    • #24721
      nightflier51
      Participant

      I believe some foundry used an original bronze bell and duplicated it in iron.

    • #24779
      kcoonen
      Participant

      Left to corrode to a brown hue, then lightly wiped, then doused in WD40 repeatedly saturating the steel’s pores. Following a thorough wipe down leaving the bell dry to the touch, it was mounted in a treated wood frame hung in a Blymyer stand set and married to an industrial wheel, this Van Duzen wanna-be now joins our collection.
      Any insightful information is most welcome.
      Thanks
      kc

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    • #24827

      I agree that this bell was probably made by an iron founder using a Vanduzen bell as a model. The process of casting iron/steel is significantly different from the process for casting brass/bronze, as evidenced by the fact that shipbuilders and steam engine builders had separate iron and brass foundries. But since this may well be a unique item, it is possible that it was made under Vanduzen’s supervision, as an experiment in competing with the cheap steel bells that were being mass produced in the late 19th & early 20th centuries.

    • #24829
      kcoonen
      Participant

      Thanks, Carl. We value your insight, but we hoped a bell authority such as yourself would provide a definitive source. If YOU can only speculate, our hopes dim for a definitive answer and the mystery continues … sigh.
      The bell has a sweet ring with extended sustain, and the handsome profile of its pure bred cousins under the “Rotary Yoke”. May be a bastard, but we love it like family.
      Thanks again!

    • #24859
      Neil Goeppinger
      Participant

      What a fun exception. I found another exception in August when I saw a bronze bell with the double bolt Vanduzen method of attachment, but from the street I could tell something was amiss. I pulled in the parking lot of a church, and low and behold, the shape of the bell was that of a Meneely, but the mounting was that of a Vanduzen. Upon examination, it was a Meneely, but they had used the Vanduzen method of mounting with the large hole cast in the top of the bell, instead of the tapered bronze cone. This is the fun of bell research, there is always something new to be discovered.

      The Vickers bells of England were cast of steel, but with the shape of bronze bells and with reeds and inscriptions similar to bronze bells. That shows it can be done. — Neil Goeppinger

    • #24872
      kcoonen
      Participant

      Wow! Neil! What an eye! A drive-by identifications!
      Fun indeed. We are regularly reminded of the variations and marriages found among bell sets. Thanks for sharing!
      We just found a Goulds 33 we didn’t know was made! We had only seen bell bowls cast in molds of even, 2″ increments.
      Thanks Neil, for all your guidance and sharing over the years, we always learn from you.
      KC

    • #25157
      nightflier51
      Participant

      Goulds No 33 is a twin to the Rumsey&Co No 8 church bell. I have a Goulds No33 which has a lonely but beautiful tone.

    • #25158
      kcoonen
      Participant

      Yes, I’ve already read about that bell on several threads.

      I still hope to hear more relevant info on the original Issue of the Van Duzen appearing cast iron bell.
      Thanks in advance.
      KC

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