Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells School bell — Manufacturer and source for parts?

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    • #11171
      jserley
      Member

      I have just acquired an old school bell — one that came from the Murry, WI Township — first school in the township, built around the late 1870s or early 1880s. This was the school where my father got 100% of his formal education and the school where my mother taught for many years as she began an entire career of teaching. As such, the bell has a special meaning for me.

      The bell appears to be in good shape — however, all that I have is the bell itself. I want to be able to operate it again, and would like to get parts for it that would be either original to the period of manufacture or replicas of that period. However, I will make some/all parts from my own design/materials if that is what will be required to operate the bell once more.

      The bell has no maker’s mark nor any marks of any kind that I have been able to find. It is 24 inches in diameter at the mouth, stands 14.5 inches tall, and has a hole where the yoke mounts that would take a standard size 0.75 diameter bolt (the hole is irregular in diameter and appears to be just as cast, ranging from about 0.83 to about 0.93 in diameter). It has a rather large amount of verdi green patina on it, primarily on the exterior of the bell, leading me to believe the copper content of the bell to be rather high — maybe higher than normal. Or maybe it could have had an exterior coating of copper applied after manufacture or later?

      I have tried to post earlier and include pictures — but, for whatever reason, I have not been able to get my pictures to convert to an image — I have imported them from photobucket.com, but when I go to preview them, they just stay in the IMG code format, and I get a message in red font–appearing above the subject line — that says the size of the image is not able to be determined — and when I submit my post, it has not shown up on the forum.

      I have several questions:

      Can anyone help me identify the manufacturer of this bell? I know a picture would help greatly here, and I will try to solve that problem with a separate post to follow. I was able to send pictures to one individual that is quite familiar with bells of this type, and he thought it was either a blymer or a american bell also call northville bell. He suggested I go to this forum and see what others thought.

      Does anyone know of source(s) for parts for the bell? I would need the yoke, clapper, turning wheel and stand/supports.

      Should I need to make a clapper, is it important to the tone of the bell (and/or the safety/life of the bell) that the size/weight/shape and strike area for the clapper be defined within certain parameters?

      As I am a complete novice on the subject of bells, I would appreciate any/all advise anyone can give me on this.

      Thanks,

      Jim

      Follow-up from Jim:

      I am attaching the pictures that I wanted to post with my message.

      I have received some responses to the posting I made without the pictures. I am thinking the pictures may help narrow the unknowns – pictures always seem so much better than words when trying to describe things like this. My original questions I had put out in my post are:

      · I have several questions:

      I was able to send pictures to one individual that is quite familiar with bells of this type, and he thought it was either a Blymer or an American bell also call Northville bell. He suggested I go to this forum and see what others thought. Ideas based on the pictures?

      Does anyone know of source(s) for parts for the bell? I would need the yoke, clapper, turning wheel and stand/supports.

      Should I need to make a clapper, is it important to the tone of the bell (and/or the safety/life of the bell) that the size/weight/shape and strike area for the clapper be defined within certain parameters?

      As I am a complete novice on the subject of bells, I would appreciate any/all advice anyone can give me on this.

      Thanks,
      Jim

    • #14740
      hjlong3
      Participant

      Firstly, does it hold a magnet. If it does, it is cast steel alloy and is probably a CS Bell Co. #24 bell. If it does not hold a magnet, then it is probably bronze, and without a picture, it would be hard to identify a founder. If it is bronze, it probably would have a raised inscription on the skirt identifying the school, founder, or date of casting. If this is a CS Bell Co. bell, you will need an appropriately sized yoke and a-frame brackets. These will be hard to come by, as they are not currently in production. Prindle Staion makes hardware for the smaller size CS Bell bells, but I do not think that they make hardware for this size bell. If it is a bronze bell, it could be Meneely, McShane, Stuckstede, Coffin, or Van Duzen & Tift with the open mounting that you describe, and without a picture, it would be hard to discern who the manufacturer was. Hardware would have to be recast, and I am not aware of anyone who is doing so. You might have to fabricate something on your own, in which case you might want to enlist the services of a local weld shop or steel fabricator.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #14741
      jserley
      Member

      Harry,

      Thank you for your reply. It holds a magnet, so I am confident it is cast iron. It appears to be cast iron in every way.

      I still am unable to get any pictures posted on this forum. I don’t know what is wrong. Every time I try to post a picture it gives an error message, printed in red front, and placed just above the subject line of the forum entry form, that “It was not possible to determine the dimensions of the image.” This occurs regardless of the size of the source image. I have been trying to insert these images via photobucket.com, following the instructions provided on this site. Everything works right up until I hit “preview”. I. E., the IMG code appears to be copied over and inserted properly into the forum message, but it will not create the picture. If I try to submit it with just the code showing in the message, the message will not post to the forum.

      I have sent a message to the administrator about this asking for her help — but have just done so recently and she hasn’t been able to respond as of this writing.

      Do you have a place where I could send you the images directly?

      Thanks,

      Jim

    • #14742
      lucky13
      Member

      Jim: I’d suspend the bell with an eyebolt from a four by four wood beam. You can tell by the 2 worn places on the bell’s interior where the clapper should strike. Make one with a ring at the end for tying the rope like the clappers in some ship bells. The clapper ball should be about the size of a baseball. The bell won’t swing but it will look great in a family room or patio and be functional. Spare parts for bigger bells are scarce. Restorers usually hang onto their spare parts for their own restorations.

    • #14743
      hjlong3
      Participant

      I agree with lucky13, you can have a steel ball welded to a steel rod with an eye bolt welded to the bottom of the ball and a loop bent into the steel rod to attach to the large eye bolt that will connect the bell to a 4 x 4 beam. You could also have a yoke fabricated by a weld shop out of steel “I” stock or square channel tubing and weld “A” frames from similar material if you wish the bell to rock. This could cost you $200-$300 to have made.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #14744
      Audinos
      Participant

      If I had a bell like that, I’d fabricate a straight European-style yoke using a steel I-beam or a laminated wooden one with a pillow block at each end. Then I’d bolt the bell to the center, mount it in a steel bell frame, and attach a straight bar for attaching a rope.

    • #14745

      Jim,
      We have only the upright pair to support your bell in a belfry or on a platform. We noted suggestions you received from other bell folks regarding a yoke; we have no yoke, clapper or wheel, only the A-frames, for a #24 bell or a #22 bell. It would be nice to find someone who is continuing to manufacture parts for the large bells. The patterns for C.S. Bell Co large bell reside in Ohio, unused.
      Sandra Wilson
      Prindle Station Bells

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