Who made this bell?
February 25, 2009 at 1:26 am #11071AnonymousInactive
Joanne in Honey Brook, PA, asks:
I belong to the Honey Brook Fire Company in Chester County, Pa. I am doing research on our fire bell. I am trying to find the maker of the bell. All I know is that is was purchased in late 1894 or early 1895 for $37.75. It is made of iron. The height is 17 1/2 inches tall. The bottom of the skirt is 25 1/2 inches. I can not find any engraving on the bell. The yoke of the bell is very corroded so the engraving might have been on the yoke.
If you can help, please post a response.
This inquiry was originally sent to the ABA’s Internet Coordinator. Responses are opinions of individuals based on their personal research and knowledge.
February 25, 2009 at 1:48 pm #14496lucky13Member
Joanne: Looks like a Blymer (Cin Bell Co) bell cast in Cincinnati. Google Blymer Bell for several sites that pertain. Their trademark was cast in the center of the yoke. I can barely make something out in your photo. The original rope wheel and side supports are missing. Perhaps this bell was damaged in a fire or natural disaster. It’s a nice historic artifact and should be sanded, painted with Rustoleum and displayed. A good machine shop can design a set of A frames for mounting. Old parts appear on eBay, but not often, and bell restorers are usually reluctant to sell their spare parts.
March 1, 2009 at 2:04 pm #14497Carl Scott ZimmermanParticipant
I concur with lucky13’s appraisal of the probable origin, but the correct spelling of the name is Blymyer. It’s often misread because the lettering in the shield-shaped panel at the center of the yoke is so small that it’s easily made illegible by rust.
The Cincinnati Bell Foundry Company first appears in the Cincinnati city directory for 1885, with the following text (in fancy fonts!) included in a quarter-page advertisement:
“The Cincinnati Bell Foundry Co. / successors (in bells) to the / Blymyer Manufacturing Co. / manufacturers of / Bells for Churches, Schools, Fire Alarms, Court Houses, Factories, Boats, Farms, &c., / 664 to 694 West Eighth St., Cincinnati. / Catalogue with 1500 Testimonials sent on Application. // D.W.Blymyer, President. S.W.Skinner, Treasurer.”
I haven’t yet found when the Blymyer Manufacturing Co. was begun, nor when they started manufacturing bells – a small sideline to their larger business producing steam engines, sugar processing machinery, etc. But there were Blymyers in Ohio at least as early as 1860.
Nor have I found just when the operators of the CinBFCo became Blymyer, Norton & Co. (abbreviated B.N.& Co. on their bell yokes). But it was some time after 1893.
The shape of the bell (especially the shoulder and top) and the shape of the yoke are characteristic. I have not found exactly those shapes on any cast steel bells that were clearly made elsewhere.
March 2, 2009 at 1:23 am #14498lucky13Member
Blymyer began operation in 1875 but I can’t remember the source of that information. More churches and schools were built in the late 19th century than any period in US history and the market for affordable bells peaked.
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