What is value of my bell?
November 10, 2009 at 8:29 pm #11272GaryMember
Hello Carol. I’m a new kid on the block here when it comes to knowing much about bells. My family recently sold property we had jointly held for many years at Higgins Lake, Michigan. Back in the 1970’s one of the senior townfolk at Higgins Lake befriended my Dad and gave him what I think is a school bell. It was mounted at the top of a 20′ tall, 6″ wide wooden pole. We dug the pole out of the ground, and relocated it to our property where it has stood since the 1970’s. It is said before the turn of the century, the original bell owner, Mr. Metzler, would deliver mail across Higgins Lake via a boat and alert the locals by ringing this bell first. It has a very distinct and LOUD clang!
I am not a metallurgist, but I believe this bell is cast Iron. It is 15 1/2 inch diameter, approx 14″ in height, my guess is about 60-70 pounds, maybe more. The device hanging inside the bell (I’ll call it a ‘clanger’) is round and 3 1/4″ in diameter. The U shaped mounting bracket it mounts to (not pictured here) must weigh 15+ pounds, and is cast iron. The mounting bracket holes are drilled to accept 3/4″ bolts for mounting. The mounting bracket is 23″ wide from tip to tip. As you can see in the photo, there is a large round “pivot weight” which allows the bell to swing back once you pull on the cord to ring it. Pls let me know if you will require additional photos.
I examined the entire unit closely and could not find any markings, inscriptions, serial numbers or whatever, anywhere on the bell or the mounting bracket to identify its background. (Could this indicate the bell is very OLD, as the weather has eroded any inscriptions)? You will also notice from the photos I have NOT wiped it down or performed maintenance to it prior to putting it up for sale. Wiping down and coating with WD40 is advisable, or???
I am most interested in having your Bell Association members give me a ballpark figure in terms of cash value of the bell… would be most appreciated.
Gary in Belleville, Michigan
November 11, 2009 at 4:40 am #14980AnonymousInactive
That’s quite a bell! I’m sure those two pictures will be enough for big bell experts to be able to give you some information. They’ll let you know if they need more pictures!
November 11, 2009 at 4:48 am #14981lucky13Member
Gary: You have a steel alloy farm bell from the late 19th or early 20th century. Most rural homes had one and some rural schools and churches used post bells. That home-made counterbalance is not original equipment. My guess is that at one time a chain was used instead of a rope for ringing and it’s weight necessitated the counterbalance. Use a wire brush on the bell then brush on a couple coats of Rustoleum in whatever color or colors you like. That size with no missing parts or damage is worth around $200 in my opinion. Some might disagree. Huge numbers of farm bells were cast by several foundries and they are still fairly plentiful.
November 13, 2009 at 5:20 am #14982Neil GoeppingerParticipant
First, I agree with everything in the previous replys. The only two items I would add, are that it was made in or before the 1880’s based on the shape, even though it is a dinner bell, and that bells with no name were often sold by catalogue firms such as Sears, Henry Field, etc., but made by someone else.
— Neil Goeppinger
November 27, 2009 at 3:02 pm #14984GaryMember
Thanks to all for your replies on my request.
February 9, 2010 at 7:17 am #14983nightflier51Participant
Hello I have one just like yours. At first it was cracked so bad it came apart in 3 places i sent it to Consolidated Castings in Orlando Florida and John Allen recast the bowl for me for 250.00. It is 19 and3/4ths wide at the lip. No name is on the yoke, not even a number. I beleive it is a large farm bell. It all weighs prob 100lbs counting yoke and upright etc. Its tone is very deep but not a sustaining ring like the cs bells. I have read, these shaped bells were called “morning glorys” due to their shape like the flower. I read this in ‘The Collectors Book of Bells By Louise Springer. It was said that these were made around the civil war times and their tones were inferior because of the elongated middle to top shape and later the middle were wider and produced a better tone. Ron
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