Hello all, just have gotten started collecting bells and I have located one that has me puzzled. It is 16″ in diamater at the base and weighs about 90 lbs. The bell appears to be brass or bronze as a magnet will not stick to it. The only markings on the bell is a US on the outside of it. Seems too large for a ships bell. Does anyone have any insight into age, use, maker or value of this bell. Any help would be appreciated. Regards, David.
Here are two pictures of the bell
Hello David, First, from the color, your bell is brass. Second, 16″ is not too big for a ship bell, and I’m almost certain yours is a U.S. Navy bell, likely from the WWII era when they made so many thousands of ships they often didn’t put names on the bells for smaller vessels (LST’s, etc.).
Also, I’m glad you sent a close up of the clapper because the way the clapper is mounted, plus the eye for a lanyard at the bottom of it is also consistent with a ship bell. I’ve seen many ship bells which were this large or larger, and I currently have one on display in my office.
I agree with Neil Goeppinger that this is a ship bell. I have one nearly identical to it but with the US inset in the body of the bell rather than raised in bas relief. This was likely used on a WWII ship. Navy Bells usually have USN on the bell and I wonder whether it was from an Army Liberty Ship. Mine also says US and not USA or USN. The original mount for mine was cut off by the scrap yard that had the bell and was a cantilevered mount to allow the bell to be mounted to a flat bulkhead. It is most likely made of bronze since brass would rapidly corrode to a green patina in salt air and most ship bells were made of bronze.
Harry Long, MD