Weight of a big bell
March 23, 2009 at 9:03 pm #11093
This is my first time on Bell Talk. I am looking to identify the weight of a large bell in our church. Embossed on the bell is: St. Joseph’s Church September 18, 1883
St. Louis, MO #9. The bell is 39″ in diameter, outside dimension. It is also 32″ in height.
Can anyone tell me about this bell and possible weight?
Thank you for your interest.
Looking forward to chatting with you1
March 23, 2009 at 10:50 pm #14549hjlongMember
Can you attach a picture? Is it Bronze or is it steel? Touch a magnet to the bell; if it sticks, it is steel; if not and it has a brown or green patina, it is probably bronze. One of our large bell experts should be able to help you with a reasonable assessment of weight.
Harry Long, MD
March 26, 2009 at 10:03 pm #14550
Thanks for the reply. I will revisit the bell – in the belfry – and get back to you with composition and a decent picture.
Steve Haase, Wisc.
March 29, 2009 at 5:35 pm #14551Carl Scott ZimmermanParticipant
Look on the opposite side of the bell for the maker’s name.
March 30, 2009 at 3:22 pm #14552
I revisited the belfry and found the following info:
Cast by J.G. Stuckstede & Bro.
18 Ten SEPT 1883
St. Louis MO
Physical dimensions are: the base is 39″ in diameter, outside dimension, 30″ high (without the cradle.) The bell is brass.
Any help you can lend on history and/or weight would be appreciated. Attached is a picture, with another picture posted separately.
March 30, 2009 at 3:24 pm #14553
Here is a second look.
March 30, 2009 at 7:01 pm #14554Carl Scott ZimmermanParticipant
This bronze bell is fairly typical of the work of J.G.Stuckstede & Bro., with one exception – the custom date below “St.Joseph”. “18ten” must be shorthand for the German word “achtzenten”, meaning “eighteenth”. So this bell was almost certainly made for a German-speaking congregation. It’s also one of the last bells made before John G. Stuckstede retired and his younger brother Henry took over the bellfoundry.
The photos also show that this bell was re-hung, quite a number of years ago. The side frames are welded angle iron, with ball bearings retrofitted to the original cast-in gudgeons on the ends of the yoke. (The original side frames would have been cast iron, with plain open bearings.) While the iron wheel is original, the counterweight bolted to it on the side opposite the rope fall is not. The cast iron tolling hammer is original. Most unusually, the connection between the top of the bell and the flange under the center of the yoke has been reworked. The original would have had individual bronze blocks under the four auxiliary bolts to clamp the bell against the flange. Those four blocks have been replaced by a pair of semicircular iron blocks, though the bolts with square nuts might well be original. The present position of the inscription shows that the bell was quarter-turned when it was rehung. Altogether, the rehang was a really expert piece of work; I’d love to know what prompted it, who did that work, and when. Perhaps that information can be found from the church records.
With a diameter of 39″, this bell should weigh between 1100 and 1200 lbs (exclusive of fittings) and sound a note between F# and G#.
Thanks for the excellent photos, Dude!
March 30, 2009 at 10:09 pm #14555
Thank you for your prompt reply. I appreciate the information. You are correct with your observation that the bell was rehung years ago. The original triangular brackets are lying on the floor directly under the bell. I intent to speak to the pastor and inquire if I might research the old church records for any evidence of maintenance performed on the bell.
Thank you, again.
Dude H., Wisconsin.
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