Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Two Bells, Two School houses – which one came from which?

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    • #12192
      ChristyForhan
      Participant

      I am doing research on the history of our local schools. We have 2 old school bells in storage. We know they came from 2 long-gone school houses, but we can’t determine which one came from which school. I’m hoping this forum can help. Here are some key facts:

      Scotch School located in West Bloomfield, Michigan was probably built in 1856. Keego Harbor School was located in nearby Keego Harbor, Michigan, was built in 1912. Both schools are in Oakland County about 30 miles north of Detroit. One of our bells is marked “No. 30 Yoke”, nothing more. I’ve looked but I don’t see any date markings inside the bell. All we have is the bell and the yoke of No. 30.

      The other bell is marked “The C. S. Bell Co., Hillsboro, O.” with “No. 26” on the yoke. We also have the side supports, they are marked “26” also. I can’t get to the inside of this bell as it is standing up on its bottom. I will find a way to tip it over and look inside if someone thinks it’s likely there’s a date stamp inside. My research thus far suggests that bells marked “The C. S. Bell…” were cast after 1896. If so, then that would suggest Bell 26 is from the newer school, Keego Harbor. But folks in this area think it’s the other way around. Did schools ever add a bell later, or have to replace a bell? We only have one photo of each school and there’s definitely a bell tower with bell in each, but no where near clear enough to discern which bell.

      Scotch School is celebrating an anniversary this year and is building a kiosk to hold its old bell. We really want to have some confidence that we’re mounting the correct bell!

      Thank you!

    • #17301
      jackbell
      Participant

      Some larger (#22 and up) Hillsboro bells were dated on the interior but most were not. Their reason for not dating everything is unknown to me. The earliest I’ve seen is 1898 and the latest 1924. The 1856 structure definitely had the Hillsboro bell added years later because the foundry did not begin casting bells until 1875. You are correct about the logo dating after 1894. If the bell you haven’t turned over bears no date you are probably out of luck determining which belonged where. If it bears a date in the 1912 range it most likely was used at Keego Harbor.

    • #17302
      ChristyForhan
      Participant

      Some good news, but still some confusion, about our No. 26 bell. We recently discovered original school board minutes that indicate the school board approved the purchase of a “suitable bell” for Scotch School at their annual meeting in fall of 1891. I don’t have record of the actual purchase of the bell, unfortunately, but the records do show the purchase of a “bell rope” in 1892. This suggests to me that the bell was installed in 1892–why else would they need a rope? However, the research I’ve seen about the C. S. Bell Company says the bells were marked ‘The C. S. Bell Co.” (like ours) beginning in 1894. So….how is it that I have a bell from 1892 that wasn’t cast until 1894? Any thoughts? By the way, the bell was recently restored and installed outside the new Scotch School, on a tall tower where it can be rung for special occasions. It sounds great! Finally ringing again after 88 years in storage.

    • #17303
      jackbell
      Participant

      Hillsboro bells were sold with a ten year guarantee against breakage with normal use. Perhaps the bell purchased in 1891 broke and was replaced with the one you have.

    • #17304
      ChristyForhan
      Participant

      Hmm. Perhaps, but the old school board minutes go through 1932 and the two entries from 1891-2 are the only mention of a bell or bell rope. I wish I had the full financial books to see when it was purchased, but the financial records in the book are only school supplies like chalk, not big items. Ah well, we still have more information than before. All good. By the way, do you have an idea of what a No. 26 Hillsboro bell might have cost in 1891? Thank you!

    • #17305
      jackbell
      Participant

      It cost about three dollars plus shipping. Sounds cheap but that was more than most Americans earned a week. Even as late as 1910 my grandmother worked in a factory for ten cents an hour, fifty hours a week, no overtime bonus.

    • #17306
      ChristyForhan
      Participant

      According to the school board book, our teacher in 1891 was paid $220 for 160 days work, or $1.37 per day. That makes $3 for a bell seem like a fair deal. The bell rope itself was 15 cents.

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