Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells THE ORIGINAL "JUPITER" BELL?

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    • #11088

      Used as a dinner bell on my husband’s family ranch in Eugene, Oregon, for more than 50 years, this bell has since revealed a more interesting life beyond what was thought of as “just an old schoolhouse bell.” It is said to have come from a rural Lane County Schoolhouse in Eugene, Oregon, which my husband’s father, aunt, and uncle attended during the 1920’s. It is 22” across the mouth, 9” across the top, and must weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 pounds or more. The top is embossed with what looks like the letter A with a hyphen followed by the number 22. We do not have the yolk.

      About eight years ago we had the clapper repaired. The welder stated he had some trouble welding it, and that it appeared to be made of material other than iron. We thought nothing of this and continued lugging it around with us as we moved. Then one day I decided to clean it. During the cleaning process it started to reflect a golden sheen and pictures, logos and letters began to appear (although vaguely). Among some of the things we noticed were what looked like a Union Pacific Shield, capital letters CPRR GVG&N, the number 3, 8, or possibly a 2, an eagle insignia and the word “Jupiter.”

      A friend of ours stuck a magnet to it, and immediately dismissed it as being “just iron.” However, upon further investigation we found out that some old bronze and/or brass ship or railroad bells were made with a conglomeration of materials which could produce a magnetic attraction. We also found out that some of the old railroad bells were donated to schoolhouses, melted down for use of the metals or were simply lost in time.

      After considerable research regarding the emblems and words that appeared during cleaning, we truly believe we have the original bell made in N.Y. for the Central Pacific Railroad Locomotive, “Jupiter,“ commissioned into service March 20, 1869, San Francisco, CA.

      The top of the bell is embossed with A and 22, also what appears to be a UP or CP. The inside is also embossed with 1503 7 or 2503 7 (unsure). Please help us identify this bell. We have several pictures.

      Robert & Nancy Christensen

    • #14537

      You probably don’t have a locomotive bell. It’s too large. I’m no expert on RR bells but I’ve never seen one larger than 18 inches and it seems most are between 12 and 16. This exact replica of the Jupiter at Golden Spike National Historic Site shows the bell to be typical in size for the mid 19th century and not nearly the size of yours. The number 22 probably indicates the size of your bell. If the word Jupiter appears it could be the name of a foundry or a ship. Eugene is near the ocean and it’s possible the bell was originally used at sea. It’s also possible it was installed in the schoolhouse new instead of a cast steel one. Some counties had more money to allocate for things like that. Posting a photo or two might help ID it further.

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