Forum Replies Created
March 2, 2007 at 3:46 am in reply to: New Collector! I need help with my first bell by A. Fulton #13000
ABA Past President Rita Walker has also chimed in. She has asked me to post an image she found on page 52 of That Vanishing Sound by L. Elsinore Springer, Crown Publishers Inc., NY, 1976. Springer says, “…only one such company ever flourished in Pittsburgh. This was the Fulton Brass and Bell Foundry, dating back to 1832. Its long and colorful existence, through generations of Fultons, made the name almost a byword where steamboat, church, factory, and other bells were concerned in western Pennsylvania. The name was also preeminent throughout the South and West, as well as in distant lands, according to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tribute of 1859.
As early as 1835 a set of Fulton chimes received an award as the “finest sounding chimes,” but the firm’s greatest achievement came when it cast a two-ton tocsin for the Pittsburgh fire alarm system. This is undoubtedly the largest ever cast in the State of Pennsylvania. After years of service, its primary usefulness ended when the fire alarm system was modernized; then came the day in 1920 when its voice was heard for the very last time as it rang 1-8-4-5 strokes to mark the anniversary of Pittsburgh’s disastrous fire of 1845. Today the huge tocsin rests before the Historical Society Building – a proud but silent symbol of the city’s past.”
Now, in the picture that Rita sent, there is an advertisement for Andrew Fulton, Bell and Brass Founder, which appeared in the Pittsburgh City Directory for 1862. It is credited to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. It reads:
Bell and Brass Founder,
No. 70 Second Street, Pittsburgh
Made to order. Counter Railings,
Every variety finished in the neatest manner.
Anti Attrition Metal.
For Steam Cylinders.
Stop & Gauge Cocks
of all sizes for Steamboats
Mineral Water Punps
Brass for all kinds of oil turning,
He is prepared to furnish to order
Church, Steamboat, Factory & other Bells,
Of all sizes from 10 to 10,000 pounds
Also, all descriptions of fittings for oil wells and refineries.
In addition, the page shows a photograph with a caption that says:
“Cast by a Philadelphia founder who seems little known, this one-of-a-kind bell is inscribed in memory of Robert Fulton: T.W. Levering Fecit Philadelphia A. D. 1816. Now Fulton is gone. He is no more but he left his genius to carry us from shore to shore. Union Steamboat.”
I have just gone to Photobucket so I could add Rita’s picture but got a message saying the website is undergoing some maintenance so I can’t post it right now.
I just checked out your Polish Bell blog and found it to be a truly fascinating story. How romantic of you to have a bell cast as a 40th wedding anniversary present for your wife! The pictures are fantastic!
I hope others will click on your link and read about your experience! 😀
Rita Walker tells me:
Well, we’ve sold dozens of these “bells” in our time. As a matter of fact, I’m looking at my own identical one right now.
It’s a COCKTAIL SHAKER BELL. It’s wooden handle unscrews, and lifts off which reveals a long slim clapper that’s attached. At the top of the handle/finial is a screw cap. This can be removed also.
To use this unique piece for it’s intended purpose one pours a combination of liquors/liquids and ice into the bell itself. The wooden handle is screwed back on, and then it’s shaken so as to completely blend the contents. That being completed, the cap/finial is unscrewed, and the contents poured into a glass, all chilled and well mixed.
George Lehmer tells me:
It is a drink mixer. You unscrew the handle and pour the ingredients into the bell. The theory is that that silly clapper will help to mix the cocktail when you ‘ring’ the bell. Then after it is mixed you unscrew the nob on the top of the handle and pour the mixed drink out through the top of the handle. I have one or two of them, but have never experimented with making a drink.
I wonder if this is a cocktail shaker of some sort. It looks like it is solid on the bottom to indicate it is some kind of a container. Perhaps it was a bottle that held after shave or cologne. These are just guesses on my part. I hope someone posts an answer!
As a follow-up, Mr. Forbes sent me a personal e-mail asking the same question. I sent it and a picture from Mr. Forbes to many of my bell friends and got several responses. Former ABA President Rita Walker offered this information:
The bell is Mexican all right, and my experience with similar types from that country is that they are not really what they appear to be. Most folks think they are old, but in most instances they are contemporary. It’s a copy of a religious type.
When we visited Mexico in the late 1960’s we saw many of this type. I was in the early stages of bell-earning back then, and I asked a merchant about that type of bell. He confided in me and said that the reason they have that “old” patina is because they bury them in the ground to get them to look that way. When they are “seasoned” properly by the soil, then they are dug up and put on sale. Some of them have a raised inscription on the skirt that appears to be “1838”, and that really fools a lot of folks too.
The pictures are not really sharp, but from what I can see the detail on the bell is not of a high quality. That in itself indicates to me that they are not what they appear to be at first glance. The clapper is probably original, and typical of the type that are placed in newer bells.
The American Bell Association is primarily a group of bell collectors. There are hundreds of different kinds of bells. By no means do all of our members have computers. Many who do, don’t participate in the forum. Many of our members, like me, have no expertise with large bells.
Like any other forum, participation in this one is voluntary. We have no staff designated to do free research for people. We have no appraisers who volunteer their services free of charge. There is no requirement for our members to peruse our forum.
I will go out on a limb and say that questions that are posted on the forum that have not been answered are that way because no participant who has read the question knows the answer. We don’t claim to have all the answers.
You have done a better than average job of describing your friend’s bell in that you’ve told us the maker, the size, a guesstimate on the age and its weight. It would help if you could upload a picture of the bell. But, that is no guarantee that anyone who looks at this forum can tell you the value of the bell.
If your friend would like to sell the bell, he/you are certainly welcome to post it in the “Bells for Sale” section of this forum. We would not accept the responsibility for setting a price for it, however.
In this age of instant gratification, people sometimes forget that a day and a half turnaround for an answer to a question is not a long time. Please understand that we are a collector’s society. We are happy to answer people’s questions when we know the answer. But no one is obligated to respond to questions, especially if they don’t have an answer.
It is unfortunate that your expectations of service from this site were improperly placed.
I’ve never seen a bell like this one nor have I seen pictures of it in the three main bell books (Springer and Baker’s). Is it polished or is it enameled?
I agree that it would be better if the pictures could be enlarged. I had just the opposite problem when I posted a notice of the New England Chapter’s upcoming meeting. The logo is huge and I don’t know how to make it smaller!
The clapper sure looks old. But we know that sometimes new bells have a forced patina on them to make them look older than they really are. I would guess the stand may not have been original to the bell.
Sorry I couldn’t be of help. Hopefully someone out there can shed some light on this.
I have located pictures of two of Sarna’s Christmas bells on page 169 of Collectible Bells by Donna Baker. The first was listed is the 1974 Limited First Edition. The caption says, “Decorated with the three wise men on one side, a nativity scene on the other. Marked ‘Christmas Greetings, 1974′ on the outside and “No. 771 Bells of Sarna, India (C)’ on the inside. The clapper is a plug shaped brass, with “1974” and “Bells of Sarna” incised on the bottom and sides. 8.5″ high. $100-150.” I found one of these in an antique shop today with a price of $14.00 on it. What’s that, about 7 to 8 pounds?
The other Sarna Christmas bell pictured is the 1975 Limited Second Edition. “Six sided brass bell with large lettered wishes for ‘Christmas Cheer Through The Year, 1975.’ Inside markings: ‘Bells of Sarna, India (C), No. 1768, Limited Edition of 3000.’ Same clapper as previous bell, except ‘1975’ is incised on bottom and sides. 6.25″ high. $100-150.”
I still haven’t found anything about the years you asked about.
I’ve done a little quick research but haven’t found anything more than an advertisement in The Bell Tower for November-December 1976, that states it is a “Limited Edition Brass Christmas Bell”, 7″ high, 3,000 issued, numbered, for $60, made by S.S. Sarna. It was advertised by Carol’s Gift Shop, in Artesea, California. There is a picture of the bell and it is in typical “elephant bell” style with a decoration of Santa Claus riding in a sleigh being pulled by reindeer.
I realize this doesn’t help you with information about the 1985 and 1989 bell. If I come across any other information, I will post it here.
Welcome to the Bell Forum!
It would help us to identify the bell if you could give us more information. For instance, how tall is the bell? How wide is the bell? Can you read the Latin well enough to print it on the forum? How big is the angel? What color is the bell? What material is it made of?
We have members that specialize in collecting angel bells but there are many, many different bells with angels on them. The more info you can give us, the more likely you are to get an identification!
Dear Bell Friends,
Since my original post regarding “holes” in my collection of Bell Towers, I have found another box of even older issues! (Mom became a member in the mid to late 1950s.) I’m pleasantly surprised because I suspect the collection is pretty complete except for these issues that probably weren’t printed in the first place. But, once again, I would like to verify, if possible, that these issues were not printed.
Were the following issues printed?
By the way, Bob, I have found the April and May 1972 issues. They were cleverly disguised as supplements (“Collectible Glass and Porcelain Bells” by Lenore and Curtis Hammond and “Carillons in the United States and Canada” by Louise Torrance)!
Thanks for your help!
Welcome to the ABA website!
I am presuming we are looking at the bell from the top (more or less). From your description and the photo, it appears to be a kind of hotel bell or call bell that is rung by twirling rather than tapping.
There are others who are far more knowledgeable than I who can tell you more about the bell. It would help us if you could tell us the height and width of the bell. Also, what is it mounted on (what kind of a base does it have)?”
It looks like a lovely bell! Does it have any markings on it? Often times tap bells will have a patent date on them near the tap.
As far as I know, there is no “master list” of Bell Towers. But having said that, I have not checked with ABA Historian, Leonard Hill, to see if he might have one among the archives.
I figured if anyone would have one, it would be the Collins family but, upon asking, I learned that there often wasn’t time left to organize a library of Bell Towers or to make a record of all the issues after getting out the new Bell Tower! It’s too bad but no one has the right to complain! The Collins family did a super-human job of editing, printing, and mailing for all those years! I don’t know how they did it year, after year, after year. But we’re all so glad they did!
Thank you, Bob, for your kind response to my quest for information! It is very helpful. Looking at the dates of the missing issues, there is really somewhat of a pattern suggesting that it took time to put together the summer, post-convention issues AND have a family life, too! That is certainly understandable!
With appreciation,September 11, 2005 at 1:32 pm in reply to: English translation of the Russian web-site on bells #12674
I’d love to know the story of the bell you are standing beside in the picture under your name! Can you tell us more, please?