Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Should we bring the bell home?

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    • #10695

      Hi all. I’m new on this interesting and informative site. I’ve already learned a great deal just by perusing the forums. I want to begin by apologising for the lenght of this posting.

      Our church will celebrate its sesquicentennial in 2008. There are a few of us who are wondering if it might be possible to reacquire the bell that resides in the belfrey of our old building, now a Masonic Temple. Because we don’t have a place to hang the bell to actually ring it, it would be for display only. A few days ago, I got to climb up into the old belfrey. I was able to decipher from the yoke (very indistinct because of rust) that the bell is from the ?M??I?AN FOUNDRY (one side of the yoke), NORTHVILLE MICH U.S.A (other side). On the center of the yoke is NO. ?6. The bottom arc of the wheel is broken. Long ago, someone constructed a box under the bell’s rim, so I can’t see the clapper. Also, the bell was sealed to the box, probably to keep critters from nesting under the bell. It sealant looks like roofing tar or something like that.

      From Bell Talk I’ve already learned that the bell must be from the American Bell Foundry, Northville MI. So it didn’t travel far; it’s in Rochester MI now. The church building was built in 1912. The bell is about 4′ in diameter. (I was trying to use a tape measure to get dimensions while not trusting the flooring under foot.) I see that the NO.?6 must be NO.46, but the 6 might be an 8; it’s hard to tell.

      I’ve already read whatever I could find on this site about ABF. So now I have a number of questions that I hope some of you experts might answer.
      1- Is every bell from ABF a “Bowlden Bell”? Does that designate a special design or what?
      2- Did ABF make a 46″ bell, or is it a 48″?
      3- What would be the approximate weight of a bell this size?
      4- What is the best way to remove a bell this size? Are there special bell removal experts?
      5- Does anyone know the approximate cost of such removal? (Ballpark figures?)
      6- What would be the “market value” of a bell this size? (I don’t know if the Masons are even interested in selling!)
      7- Considering its weight, what is the best way to display a bell this size? I’m thinking that there’s probably no way to display the bell so it could be rung?

      What I’m trying to do is find out as much as I can about the challenge of bringing the bell home, so I can answer questions in the congregation. I very much appreciate ANY information ANYONE can supply. THANKS SO MUCH!
      p.s. I’m a 62 year old grandmother … who climbs bell towers.

    • #13342

      I don’t know much about ABF but concerning removal of the bell, you might contact Bob Brosamer of “Brosamersbells.com”. He is located in Brooklyn, MI and is a purveyor of all types of church bells. He has experience removing large bells from churches and should be able to quote you a price, although he is generally interested in purchase of bells for resale. There are basically two ways to remove them: 1. via a hole in the floor of the belfrey or 2. through the side of the belfrey. In both cases, there will be damage to the belfrey that would need repair, thus adding to the removal cost. If the Masons plan to remove the belfrey, then that would be an appropriate time to remove the bell.
      HJLong, MD

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