Restoring a 1926 bell
Tagged: 1926 bell rehab
June 2, 2017 at 10:42 am #25433ICCSbellMember
We have a bell cast in 1926 by Hy.Stockstede foundry. What material is it? How do we restore the finish?
June 2, 2017 at 1:55 pm #25434GarryParticipant
Some photos would be nice to give an idea where to start.
Also size (height, bell width, etc.)
Typically most cast bells are Iron, Brass, or Bronze. Some have also been painted or given a silver coating etc.
To test for Iron, simply hold a strong magnet to it. Does it stick?
A quick test for silver is to put a chip of ice on it. If it melts like on a hot stove, it’s probably silver.
Brass is an alloy of Copper and Zinc.
So it tends to remain a muted yellow slightly golden color with age. If it has a lot of zinc it might show some white corrosion. Because it is ‘softer’ it tends to have a more mellow tone when struck.
Bronze is an alloy of Copper and other metals, usually Tin, or Tin and Nickel for bells.
Bronze, with enough of the other metals, will be slightly magnetic with a strong (rare earth) magnet (it behaves ‘sticky’ vs holding the magnet). It weathers to a Reddish Brown color. Because it is more brittle, it resists corrosion and has a higher ringing sound – often used in ships bells etc.
Unfortunately most of the definitive tests between Brass and Bronze involves acids, scraping, bending and other destructive procedures. You can get a spectral test now, if you have a metal plant in the area with the newer test equipment (and talk real nice to them!), but that’s beyond the price range for the rest of us.
If there is a question, Bronze is usually the answer when it’s a bell.
Hope this helps!
June 2, 2017 at 7:02 pm #25435kcoonenParticipant
ICCSbell, Stuckstede cast bronze bells, I believe. HY Stuckstede could have appeared on bells in 1926 under the foundry name “The Henry Stuckstede Bell Foundry Company”, according to “Large Bells of America” pg 157, by Neil Goeppinger, 2016
Restoration is a broad term and could be claimed with various treatments.
Are you cleaning dirt off, or taking off patina for a shiny new finish?
Missing parts, or making repairs?
Re-mounting for a specific installation, or for sales appeal?
Neil Goeppinger’s book has a chapter devoted to restoring bells, with a section on bronze.
Basically, cleaning is soap and water scrubbed, black crud gets Naval Jelly, sandblast as last resort as it removes the chemical created patina, and may dull the lettering, but it will look new. Read his book for specifics in depth.
A couple photos and your terms of restoration might bring more answers as there are many knowledgeable participants if we can coax them in.
June 5, 2017 at 3:44 pm #25452DavidEKeymaster
The maximum file size you can upload is 512KB
The simplest website for resizing that I have found is …
Browse to where your picture is located
Click Open, image will upload to picresize website
Leave all default settings as they are
Scroll down to bottom
In step 4 “Save As” – enter 512 in MaxFilesize box
Click I’m Done, Resize My Picture
Click Save to Disk
Click Save, this will save the resized picture to your Downloads file
You will find the picture renamed as rsz_original name
Hope this helps
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.