Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Value of 33.5" Baptist Church Bell?

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    • #29234
      ab835
      Participant

      Hello,

      New to this forum, but remembering my grandmother had a fondness for all manner of bells, so fitting in some way I find myself here.

      I live in an old Baptist Church in Vermont (privatized in the 1970s) and we are wondering about the value of the bell that’s still in the steeple. We may need to do some repairs to the roof/steeple and debating removing it and possibly using the proceeds to help offset the costs. Any and all help appreciated.

      The church was built in 1840, the Bell is from the Troy Foundry (1956) and it’s 33.5″ in diameter, brass, to the best of my knowledge, with a wooden wheel (no longer in use) that’s 64″ in diameter.

      Happy to answer any questions about photos. It’s a small space so hard to get good ones.

      Thanks!
      Alex

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    • #29236
      ab835
      Participant

      P.S. I have a recording of the bell tone, but can’t find it at the moment. A photo of it’s ancestral home in the meantime.

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    • #29237

      Your bell (which is bronze, not brass), together with its fittings, weighs over half a ton. Removing it from its present place is not a simple task, which is why it is still there! If the steeple is so deteriorated that you need to remove it (whether to replace it or not), then sale of the bell could help reduce the expense. Otherwise, the cost of removing the bell from the steeple (without causing damage to either one) is probably not worth the effort.

      • #29238
        ab835
        Participant

        Carl,

        Thanks so much for the info and perspective. I appreciate the correction on brass/bronze, too.

        That is indeed the conundrum – structure needs repair, but likely much easier to support without half a ton up there.

    • #29239

      The weight of the bell in place poses another conundrum. The downside is the need for the supporting structure to remain adequate to carry that weight; the upside is that the weight tends to stabilize the steeple against the forces of wind, etc.

      For example, when the earthquake that struck Washington DC a few years ago caused damage to the stonework of the National Cathedral, it was quickly realized that the great weight of the carillon in the lower belfry had helped stabilize the central tower, thus minimizing the damage there.

    • #29243
      ab835
      Participant

      Very good point! I didn’t think of that. It’s not a very seismic area, but the wind can surely kick up.

    • #29249
      nightflier51
      Participant

      Im not a professional on value aprasails but im going to guess in good shape, that bell is worth over 20 grand…

    • #29250
      ab835
      Participant

      Thanks, Nightflier! I appreciate you weighing in. I plan to send it in to be professionally appraised, but keep forgetting to get all the right photos…and getting up there is a bit of a climb! If you know anyone that can give a professional appraisal from these photos, I’d be interested in hearing from you.

      Thanks!

    • #29253
      nightflier51
      Participant

      I do…His name is JJ Smith of Smiths bell and clock service…..I recommend him highly. He is honest and will help you. Tell him Ron the harp player sent you to him He is in Indiana.Look up Smiths Bell and clocks Service

    • #29464
      Neil Goeppinger
      Participant

      Your bell is by Eber Jones and James Hitchcock, which traced it’s origin back to Paul Revere, through James Hitchcock. Hitchcock died not long after the firm started and then became Jones and Company Troy Bell Foundry. There was a larger bell foundry in Troy as well started by Clinton H. Meneely. I have a pretty good write up on the history of this foundry and how it traces it’s linage back to Paul Revere, in my book. –Neil

    • #29529
      kcoonen
      Participant

      I highly recommend Neil’s book: “Large Bells of America”, Suncoast Digital Press, 2016

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