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      John B writes:


      I am writing from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. Our union is the oldest labor union in the United States, founded in Marshall, Mich., on May 8, 1863.

      Each year, our organization sponsors an awards ceremony and first prize is a miniature brass bell (approximately six inches). We had been purchasing hand-made bells forged by a gentleman in Pennsylvania.

      He has since retired and we are now looking for a new company to provide our bells. We recently purchased a mass-manufactured bell and I am very disappointed in the quality and tone.

      We are definitely looking to buy more than one. However, not all at once. We sponsor an awards contest where we present one brass bell every year. In addition, we donate a couple more each year at retirement parties, award ceremonies, etc… In all, I’d say we’d be looking to purchase a minimum of 3 or 4 bells per year (probably more).

      Can you recommend an individual or organization that produces high quality brass bells? Thank you very much.



      John has also invited ABA members to visit his office in Cleveland next June when we are there for the ABA Convention!

      ps: I notice your 2010 convention will be in Cleveland. Our union’s National Headquarters is in Cleveland, Ohio. I would be happy to give your leaders a tour of our office if you have the time while we are in town. We recently refurbished and installed a 100-foot long mural, originally painted in 1937, at our headquarters. We are also the proud owners of an authentic 17-inch locomotive bell, and I would love to have your input on it. We have one very large steam locomotive brass bell on display, a massive railroad mural that depicts the early history of railroading in America up to 1937 (which is 100 feet long), and a wide variety of other rail memorabilia.

      (Speaking of locomotive bells, I’ve lately taken the opportunity to look for them on ebay. Not that we are thinking of selling our bell, but I’ve been thinking about buying one for myself. In two recent auctions, one sold for $1,200. The bidding is still ongoing for the other bell, and it is up to $1,700!)

      John may be contacted at
      John Bentley
      Public Relations Dept.
      Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

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