Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells Superman 1923 Hull on bell

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    • #10988

      ABA member Steve writes:

      This bell is 8″ high, and 8″ diameter. It is made of brass or bronze. Inscribed on it is “Superman. 1923 Hull.” It has a deep groove where the clapper struck the bell, so I’m sure it is as old as the date indicates. I got this from an antique dealer in Argentina. If anyone has information on this bell, I would appreciate it.


      If you can help, please post a response.

      This inquiry was originally sent to the ABA’s Internet Coordinator. Responses are opinions of individuals based on their personal research and knowledge.

    • #14157

      What an intriguing mystery. Superman didn’t come into commercial popularity until the 1930s. Superman-abilia from 1923, if it is, in fact that old and relates to the comic book Superman, it would drive the Superman fans wild. It’s unlikely to be the commercial Superman, however. Prior to that, most references to “superman” referred to the titans of ancient mythology, Herculean men who were immortal or born of liaisons between gods and humans, so the name has a precedence.

      It could be the name of a ship since it has some similarity in shape and size to nautical bells.

      If the groove is very deep, it increases the possibility that it is a nautical bell, since boats sway in high waves, causing the clapper to hit the insides, plus bells were often used for signaling.

      So … going on the hunch that it’s a nautical bell, and assuming, for now, that the date of founding (or launch) is 1923, it makes sense to research marine vessels. There was a Royal Navy rescue tugboat by the name of HMS Superman, but it wasn’t launched until 1933.

      There was also an ST Superman that was, I think, deployed by the British Army. Since Hull was a site where servicemen signed up at least as early as the late 1920s, perhaps you have a historical ship’s bell from the British Army.

      Hang on … let me just look around on the Net if there’s any info on the ST Superman and find out if it’s connected with Hull …

      Bingo! Check out this link. You would probably need a marine vessel historian to verify whether this bell matches marine bells from that place and time, and you might have to go through old photo archives to find a picture of the actual bell used on the ST Superman, but if this bell came from that ship, you have a lovely historical artifact:


    • #14156

      Thank you very much for the information. I did not know that “Hull” was a place in the UK. I am pretty sure that this bell dates to 1923 with the deep groove made by the clapper. I will have to do some research on the “ST Superman”. What does “ST” stand for?


    • #14158
      Joan Elliott

      Hello Steve

      I have been in contact with Lloyds Register enquiring about other bells and took the opportunity to ask about SS Superman. This is there response ….

      “As for the SUPERMAN she was a small tug registered in Hull which was built in 1923.”

      Anne Cowne
      Information Officer
      Corporate Communications
      Lloyd’s Register Group Services Ltd.

      Hope this helps in your search for information

    • #14159

      Joan, that’s great information. I hope Steve sees it.

      I did some digging and found some more info.

      The Hull Museums Collection apparently has two negatives of a vessel called Superman. If it’s the 1923 ST Superman, they have two images:

      1. The Superman leading the Dunedin Star (a steam ship) – glass negative

      2. The Superman (in addition to pictures of other boats and the Hull dock) – 35mm negative

      It may be possible to get copies, Steve. You can look up the accession numbers and availability on their site.

      Good luck.

      P.S., I believe ST stands for “steam tug” but I’m not 100% sure since some naval acronyms mean more than one thing (e.g., “SS” has a variety of meanings, depending upon context and whether it’s commercial, military, British or American).

    • #14160

      Thank you for all the information on my “Superman” bell. I am working in Iraq now and do not have much time to use the computer. But when I get home I will definately look into the negatives of the ship. Thank you all again.


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