Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells URGENT Bell Identification Needed!

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    • #11641

      Glynis in Texas asks:

      HELP! I am a writer for Lake Country Life Magazine in the Texas Hill Country and I’ve been asked by my editor to write (right away, today) about a bell at a local antique store.

      The Owner has been given to understand that it is solid brass fire bell, dating to the late 18th or early 19th Century & indeed it has remnants for fire red paint on the frame. The sound is loud & true. She said it came to the current owner from a Masonic Lodge in New Jersey.

      Do you know of someone who can help me with identifying the bell & telling me more accurately it’s period of production or use? There is not maker’s mark or name cast in to the bell or frame.

      Thanks in advance & hoping for a speedy referral/answer


      If you can help, please post a response.
      Admin (Carolyn)

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


    • #16115

      Glynis: From the way it’s mounted I’d say it came from a horse-drawn fire wagon or early fire truck or it could have been a ship or boat bell. It’s not as old as you were told, probably late 19th to early 20th century.

    • #16114

      Thanx jackbell. In writing this story, I’d like to include just a bit of background of person I’m quoting. Do you have an area of interest/expertise & how long have you been investigating bells? Have you seen similar bells? I take it they persisted into the days of motorized fire wagons. Is that correct?

      Were they just klaxons to warn traffic or were they a call to the volunteers as well? I read one account from a Massachusetts museum that said firehouse bells often had “codes” for different events or emergencies but I haven’t determined if they were bells like this or something larger.

      This bell is very loud and true (if that’s a way to describe a bell note…maybe they have voices of something). Is that because of it’s thickness?
      Were there many manufacturers of such bells, or a limited few?

      Thanx G

    • #16116

      This appears to be a fire engine bell from the early 20th century. This type of bell was used by Ahrens Fox although the bells were usually chrome plated. Other manufacturers used similar bells. American LaFrance usually had an Eagle finial rather than the Acorn used on this bell. The design is typical of those made by EW Vanduzen Co.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #16117

      From Joe Connors.
      I did a sloppy job of looking for a set of bells in Waterville, NY. Maybe it was misspelled. Couldn’t find them in Watervliet, then tried Waterford. Bingo!
      Found a bell about that size in the attic of a Masonic Lodge that was rung during meetings. It was several years ago and I don’t remember how it was mounted.
      When I saw that your bell had been in a Masonic Lodge, I was sure I had the right answer. But not so quick, Buster.
      Waterford manufactured old horse drawn hand pumpers. So this solves nothing.
      Will stop by and look at it very carefully when I am there next time.

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