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Large Bells of America

History of Church Bells, Fire Bells, School Bells,
Dinner Bells and Their Foundries

by Neil Goeppinger

This long-awaited book on American bellfoundries, from the preeminent expert on their history and products, was published in August 2016 by Suncoast Digital Press.  With 198 pages and many color photos, it is now available from both Amazon and Barnes & Noble in hardcover and softcover versions.  (There is also an abridged edition available as an e-book, either Kindle for a trivial price or Nook for free.)  The ISBN is 978-1-939237-44-6.
On this page:
    Publisher's overview
    Editorial reviews  (from the publisher and the Webmaster)
    Note on the abridged edition  (from Amazon)
    Errata and commentary on Part I  (from the Webmaster)
    Research notes on Part II  (from the Webmaster and the author)
    Webmaster's Endnote

Publisher's overview

From the Amazon and B&N Websites:
Bells have played a significant role in US history and, in many cases are seen as national symbols.  This is especially true when it comes to the Liberty Bell, cast at a foundry in England in 1752 and shipped to Philadelphia, where it was installed in the assembly house.

Bells have also played a central role in this author's life.  "I can still picture the 18-inch iron dinner bell that my mother used to call both myself and my brother to meals when we were out playing on the family farm in Iowa.  Indeed, my wife and I copied this 'PA' system when we purchased our own large bell nearly 40 years ago.  That was the start of a life-long passion which has resulted in my collection of American large bells, and knowledge of bells which I have been privileged to share with bell enthusiasts across the country."

Large Bells of America provides a host of information not simply for enthusiasts and collectors, but also for anyone who is interested in bells, and in the part that these American symbols have played in United States history and our cultural, Christian and church heritage.

This full-color book is divided into two parts.

In the first part of the book the author looks at the early history of bells and their physical characteristics including the components of a bell; the materials used to make bells, and the different sound qualities that these materials produce; the various shapes produced; the difference between swinging and stationery bells; how bells are tuned and much more.  This part of the book also looks at such things as how the truly big bells are created and how old bells can be restored.

The second part of the book provides a comprehensive directory of bell foundries, and includes fascinating details of hundreds of foundries, including some very well-known names such as Andrew Meneely, Pass & Stow and Paul Revere, whose 1797 bell hangs in the People's Baptist Church of Boston.  Indeed, there are believed to be well over 100 church bells in existence bearing the Revere inscription.

Whether you are a bell enthusiast or collector, or simply have an interest in US history and the part that large bells have played in the life of our nation, this book is a must read.

Editorial reviews

From the back cover of the book:
Bells have figured in the culture and lives of Americans since the earliest days of our country.  As Historian of the American Bell Association, I appreciate that Neil Goeppinger has shared his lifetime of research so that current and future generations will have all the essential facts about large bells and foundries of America at their fingertips.  If your interest is also in Americana and the sights and sounds of days gone by, you will find much of interest in Large Bells of America: History of Church Bells, Fire Bells, School Bells, Dinner Bells and Their Foundries. - Kathleen Collins, Historian, American Bell Association

This is the most extensive book published on big bells. Neil has done exhaustive research over the years and it shows in this book. The history is fascinating, along with the directory listings and the pictures.  This is a book you just cannot put down! - Bruce Clayton, CPA, bell appraiser

Mr. Goeppinger has served as President of the American Bell Association, International, Inc. (ABAII).

He continues to serve ABA as past-president and goodwill ambassador.  You can find his articles and comments on the American Bell Association website. - Gary Childress, bell enthusiast and purveyor

From the Webmaster:  This book is the result of Neil's many years of collecting and researching "big bells."  Part II is a complete list of every known or suspected bellfoundry in the history of America, with illustrations of the work of some of them.  (Some suspected bellfoundries may actually have been agents or retailers.)  For each business in the list, there is presented the location, year established, year closed, years of known operation, name of bellfounder, predecessor & successor, source of information, and other facts.  An appendix lists all of the manufacturers by state, thus providing a cross-index.  This book is in a class by itself, because previous general-audience books on bells that have mentioned bellfounders have not attempted to be comprehensive and have not documented their sources of information.  In spite of a few typographic errors, this is an essential addition to the library of anyone who has an interest in tower bells or American industrial history.  Highly recommended!  Buy a copy for your local public library!

Note on the abridged edition

From the Amazon Website:
IMPORTANT:  Please note that this Kindle book is the publisher's abridged version of Large Bells of America.  This digital version is designed to allow readers to sample the rich history, beautiful full-color photographs, and collected reference material found nowhere else in the world except in the printed version of this book.

Errata and commentary on Part I

From the Webmaster; all page numbers refer to the book, which the reader of this page should now have in hand.

Title page
Contrary to custom, the subtitle from the front cover does not appear here.
Chapter 1
p.6, fig.12
The lineage depicted here is a business lineage, and possibly also a stylistic lineage, not a genealogical one.  For the lineage of the Hanks and Meneely families, see our Hanks-Meneely genealogy
p.6, fig.12, lower left inner column
Memeely should be Meneely.
p.6, fig.12, right column
Brockfield should be Brookfield.
Easy Medway should be East Medway.
p.7, third paragraph
Eerie Canal should be Erie Canal.
The Hanks foundry in Troy was not carried on by George L. Hanks but by Julius Hanks' son, Oscar Hanks.
p.8, third paragraph
Watervillet should be Watervliet (two places).
I have never seen a bell with both place names on it; perhaps Neil has.
p.11, fourth paragraph
Eyeres might be either a typo or a variant spelling; the more customary spelling of the name of this Revere partner (as reported by Edward Stickney) was Eayres.
pp.7 & 13
I am highly suspicious of the estimate of 10,000 bells for the lifetime production of the Holbrook foundry.  Although the length of that lifetime might seem to support such a number (82 years, comparable to the 80 years of the Meneely/Troy foundry, which produced about 12,400 bells), I have not seen any evidence that the Holbrooks distributed bells as widely and prolifically as the Meneelys did.  Furthermore, Holbrook never made any chimes, though such sets of bells contributed significantly to the numbers of bells produced by the Meneelys.  That large number might be credible if it included small bells such as servant call bells or horse car bells, which could be manufactured rapidly in large quantitites.  These could have been supplied to locksmiths and bellhangers - the nomenclature of the day for those who commonly installed call bells in houses, hotels, etc.
p.12, second paragraph
Some historians dispute the alleged connection between the Benjamin Hanks lineage and the Nancy Hanks Lincoln lineage.  Nancy Hanks parentage, and even her maiden name, are not firmly documented.  See the Wikipedia article on Nancy Hanks Lincoln heritage for details.
p.15, first line
Bells installed at lighthouses were commonly called fog bells, because they were rung in foggy conditions when the light could not be seen very far.  In the days of sailing ships, in the windless conditions associated with fog, the sound of a fog bell could be heard from a long distance at sea.
p.15, second line
Bridge bells were more likely to be used to warn people that a drawbridge or turnbridge was about to open to allow river or canal traffic to pass through, just as railroad crossing gongs still ring today.  For example, the Meneely/Troy foundry supplied a total of 19 bells of approximately 100 pounds each to the city of Chicago for use as bridge bells, undoubtedly for the early versions of the many canal and river bridges in that city.
p.15, Locations of American Bell Foundries
A number of bell and brass foundries, most notably that of Andrew Fulton, operated in Pittsburgh, Pensylvania, from the early 1800s, supplying not only church bells but also ship's bells for the vast number of steamboats that were built there to carry merchandise and raw materials up and down the Ohio River.
Saint Louis, Missouri, became a major center for bell production after the Civil War, as railroads enabled the shipment of all kinds of durable goods from there to the towns and cities that were springing up all over the Midwest.  From 1863 through 1878 there were never less than four bellfoundries in operation simultaneously in this city, and in some years there were as many as seven.  Thereafter there were two to four bellfoundries in operation simultaneously up until the Great Depression.
Chapter 2
p.18, fig.43
This might better be captioned "Bell Fittings," as it identifies important parts of the equipment associated with a bell, and normally supplied by the bell's manufacturer.
p.19, Components of a Bell
The text identifies a crown as an extension of the top of a bell, used for fastening it to a yoke or something else.  But it doesn't identify two other types of extension that have the same function, though they are pictured and described elsewhere in the book.  One is the TANG, a flat extenstion with a hole cross-wise through it it is mentioned and described at the bottom of page 29, and seen in the photo on page 153.&nbs; The Holbrook bell pictured on page 7 and page 107 has a tang, fitted into a socket carved into the wooden yoke (headstock) with a single cross-pin to secure it.  The Wilbank bell pictured on page 168 has a wider tang with two holes.  The other type of extension is the NECK, a tapered cone that wedges into a tapered socket in a cast iron yoke.  It is effectively described, though not named, on pages 33-34.  The mounting for the Hooper bell shown in fig.75 could be described as a hybrid of neck and tang; I would call it a cylindrical neck or cylindrical tang.  There are also several variants of the crown, which do not seem to have distinct names.  They differ in the number and orientation of the cannons, the presence or absence of the argent, etc. There is also a major variation on the crown called a BUTTON TOP - a solid flange on top of a short thick neck.  It does not seem to be illustrated in this book, but was commonly used on European-made cast steel bells.
p.19, para.1
It is true that in some places, bells were hung by chains through their crowns and rung by a clapper rope.  However, it was (and is) far more common for the crown to be used to attach the bell to a headstock so that it could be swung.  The earliest method of attachment was blacksmithed straps, bent through the loops of the cannons and affixed to a timber headstock; but eventually these straps were superseded by various kinds of bolts.  Even today, bells can be made with crowns and hung by this method.
p.19, para.6
Yoke is a distinctively American term, derived from the similarity of shape to the yoke of a draft animal (ox, horse or mule).  In European terms, the American yoke would be called a tucked-up headstock (as opposed to a straight headstock).  "Tuckedup" refers to where the top of the bell is with respect to the axis of rotation when swinging (which is always through the gudgeons).  German-made swinging bells, some of which have been imported to America, are almost always hung from straight headstocks.
p.19, para.6
The use of A-frames to support American swinging bells began about the middle of the 19th century, as iron-casting technology was improving.  Prior to that, bell makers commonly shipped a bell with a yoke and a pair of bearing blocks, leaving to a local carpenter the job of building a timber frame to support the bell, and integrating it into the structure of a bell tower.  With A-frames (or the cheaper equivalent of a vertical post with brace rods - see fig.47), the bell manufacturer could mount these supports on a timber base and ship a complete assembly to the destination.  There it just needed to be hoisted into the tower and set on an existing floor or equivalent support.
p.20, para.2
Prior to the development of the clevis in the 19th century, American bellfounders followed the old European tradidion of using a cast-in CLAPPER STAPLE, possibly made of wrought iron, to support the clapper.  The clapper was usually connected to the clapper staple by a heavy leather strap.
p.20, para.3
Limiting springs, sometimes called CLAPPER SPRINGS, served two other purposes besides the one described by Neil.  First, they prevent the clapper from lying against the bell, and thus damping the sound.  Second, they prevent the clapper from double-striking, i.e., bouncing off the bell and then striking again before the bell swings back.  It should be noted that clapper springs are only required on bells with a falling clapper, not those with a flying clapper.
p21, para.2
Outside tolling hammers might exist, but I have never seen one.  What is common on the outside of a bell is a clock hammer, operated by a weight-driven tower clock.  It is shaped very much like a tolling hammer, but it is mounted so that the hammer head just clears the soundbow on the side of the bell opposite to the wheel.  (In this way, the bell is free to swing without interference from the clock hammer.)  The hammer arm rests on a flat spring, and the end of the other arm is connected to a pull wire that goes down through the floor of the belfry to the clock room.  There it is connected to one end of a center-pivoted clock-strike arm, the other end of which rides on a toothed cam wheel.  As the clock approaches the time when the bell should strike, a cam tooth slowly causes the clock hammer to be lifted off the spring.  When the clock-strike arm falls off the other side of the tooth, the clock hammer falls; its falling weight overcomes the spring rest just enough to strike the bell once before settling on the rest again.  The configuration of the cam wheel and other parts of the clock control when and how many times the clock hammer strikes the bell.
p21, para.3
While I have not seen an American-made steel bell with a crown, some of the steel bells made in England or Germany do have either crowns or button tops.  Some have reeds and lettering as well.
p.24, fig.58 caption
Bouy should be Buoy.
p.25, para.2
The great bell of St.Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Cincinnati is further described here, where a different weight is reported for it.  (At least three different weights for this bell can be found in the literature.)
p.25, Form Follows Function, second paragraph
Fig.79 is an even better illustration of the point than fig.40; there is hardly any hint of a soundbow in the shape of the bell.
p27, paras.1 & 2
The idea that the sound of a bell comes primarily from its mouth is a common misconception that is easily disproved.  Ring a handbell, then point its mouth straight at your ear.  Now turn your wrist 90 degrees so that the side of the bell is toward your ear.  You will hear that the bell sounds louder, even thought the sound continues to decay.  The reason for this is that the mode of vibration in a bell is circular, and the sound waves that are emitted from the inner sides of a bell tend to cancel each other.  This is more obvious in a relatively narrow-mouthed bronze bell than in a relatively wide-mouthed steel bell.  When watching a swinging bell in an open tower, the visual image reaches the eye much faster than the audible sound, but the brain wants to match the sight and sound at the moment they are received, thus producing an incorrect impression of when the bell sounds loudest in its swing.  A swinging bell sounds louder than a non-swinging bell because the clapper hits the bell with much greater force.  Trying to achieve the same loudness from a stationary bell is very likely to break the bell because a tied clapper is not free to bounce after it strikes.  It is actually much easier to keep a swinging bell in motion than it is to make the same amount of sound just by moving the clapper.  (A fire bell is a different matter, because there is so much more adrenaline involved!)
p.29, para.4
The concept of rotating a swinging bell to obtain a fresh strike point was very much a New World invention, and probably sprang out of the fierce competition between bellfoundries selling into all the new settlements that were springing up across America in the 19th century.  Published testimonials from satisfied customers frequently contain remarks to the effect that "our new bell is better than all the others in town!"  And the bellfounders wanted their customers to be assured that they could easily keep that pleasant sound.  As a result, several different rotary mounting systems were developed, patented and advertised, even if in practice they were seldom used.  However, I have seen a few bells that had been rotated twice - always in Catholic churches, where the bells had been very heavily used.
p.29, last paragraph
For a long time, we thought that the Vanduzen 4-bolt mounting system was unique to that firm.  Recently a couple of Meneely/Watervliet bells have been discovered with an identical mounting.  It is not yet known whether the Meneelys were experimenting with Vanduzen's mounting system or whether these bells have been remounted on Vanduzen fittings at some time in their history.  In any event, it makes the bell-hunting campanologist much more cautious about identifying a bell solely with binoculars, though they remain an essential research tool.
p.30, para.1
Garrett should be Garratt (twice).
p.31, fig.79 caption
"Sears Robuck" should be "Sears, Roebuck".
Chapter 3
p.33, Iron and Steel Bell Restoration, last paragraph
"U-shaped cups" refers to the open plain bearings used on most small steel bells (whether mounted on forks or A-frames) and on many small bronze bells.  These plain bearings could operate for many years without any lubrication at all, because their loading (in terms of pounds per square inch of contact surface) was very low, so frictional wear was minimal once the gudgeon and bearing cup had worn each other smooth.  Middle-sized bells with plain bearings often had hold-down straps bolted across the tops of the bearing cups to prevent the bell from jumping out of its bearings if the rope was mis-handled.  More complex bearings (e.g., roller boxes) required regular lubrication for easy operation.
p.33, Bronze Bell Restoration, first paragraph
I heartily agree with Neil's recommendation against removing the patina of a bronze bell.  To me, it's like making your granny get a facelift because you don't like looking at her wrinkles.  An old bell ought to be respected for what it is.  (A brass railroad bell or a chrome-plated fire engine bell is different - it's a piece of equipment in current use, with relatively little value as an artifact.)
p.34, para.5
Navel should be Naval.
p.36, para.2
Prindel Station should be Prindle Station; its Website is
Chapter 4
The two-part molding method, using a perforated metal cask to hold the outer part, is accurately described.  This is a relatively modern method, first used in the 19th century.  The much older method of building a false bell on the core and then building the outer mold on top of the false bell, is still used by some foundries.  Details of this method can also be found in the literature.
Chapter 5
(no comments)
Manufacturers Listed by State (Appendix 1, p.171-176)
p.173, Missouri
All of the firms listed in this state were located in the city of Saint Louis.
Bibliography (Appendix 2, p.177)
Forbes, Esther
See especially p.384ff.

Research notes on Part II

From the Webmaster and the author; all page numbers refer to the book, which the reader of this page should now have in hand.  Errata and commentary are included.

NOTE:  On the page number references that follow, if the author's exact name for a bellfoundry is used then the associated items apply solely to that particular foundry entry.  If a generic or family name is used, or any other form that does not match any of the author's foundry names, then the associated commentary applies to several related foundry entries.

p.55, Tips for the Use of this Bell Foundry Directory
The database from which this Part of the book was produced served well for many years as an efficient and effective means of compiling and organizing information about all of the various names found on bells or in documentation about their makers.  Its one shortcoming is that finding and connecting the various names used by a single foundry (or its various proprietorships) over the course of its existence is somewhat awkward.  The Successor field identified in the author's second Tip is helpful in this respect, as is the corresponding Predecessor field.
p.50, American Bell Foundry Company
Commentary:  Advertising material from this company also gives its name as The American Bell and Foundry Company, and proudly identifies its products with the trade name The Bowlden Bell.
Note that Other Facts gives the address as Northfield, Michigan.  I do not know whether this is a typo, or whether the company moved from Northville to Northfield, or vice versa.  Both places do exist, although Northfield is a township with no developed center.
p.57, Cyrus Alger
Source:  Shepp should be Shep.
p.57, James P. Allaire
Other Facts: Sanger should be Saenger.
p.57, figure caption
Allarie should be Allaire.
p.58, Ames Manufacturing Company
Address:  Cabinville should be Cabotville.
p.60, John Bailey
See also Bailey & Hedderly, page 104.
p.61, Bartholomew & Brainard
Source:  Shepp should be Shep.
p.62, photo
This photo may be incorrectly proportioned - too short for its width.
p.63, C. S. Bell & Company
Other Facts:  The last sentence does not belong with this entry but with the following one (The C. S. Bell Company).
Commentary:  Table of weights of C.S.Bell church and school bells (supplied by N.G.)
Table of weights of C.S.Bell fire alarm bells (supplied by N.G.)
p.63, The C. S. Bell Company
Address:  This does not mean that Hillsboro became Tiffin.  The firm that bought the Hillsboro general foundry business (but not its bell business) relocated to Tiffin.  Hence it is not the Successor of the Hillsboro firm with respect to bells.
Successor:  Prindle Station, which bought the farm bell molds after the closure of the Hillsboro foundry.
Other Facts:  Parts of the middle of this section belong with a successor firm, not here.
p.65, Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Company
Source:  Elsnore should be Elsinore.
p.65, Arthur Lynds Bigelow
Commentary:  Bigelow was Professor of Engineering at Princeton University, and a renowned carillonneur.  For an index of carillon and chime bells made by Bigelow, as well as more about the history of his work, see our Bigelow index page.
p.66, M. C. Bignall & Co.
Address:  806 & 808 N. 2nd, St.Louis, Missouri
Years in Operation:  1876-1878
Successor:  Goulds & Ostrander should be omitted.
Source:  add: Saint Louis city directories (annual)
Commentary:  This firm, a partnership between Moses C. Bignall and Nelson O. Nelson, was a manufacturer of pumps and a distributor of brass goods and railway supplies (per city directories).  It might have been a distributor of bells, since the successor firm at the same address did that, but are unlikely to have been a manufacturer of bells.
p.66-67, William Blake
Commentary:  For an index of chimes made by the Blake foundry, as well as more about the history of the foundry, see our Hooper/Blake index page.
p.68, William Blake & Company
Predecessor:  The immediate predecessor of Wm.Blake & Co. was Henry N. Hooper & Co., which operated the same foundry from 1830 to 1868.
Successor:  Blake Bell Company
p.69, Bleymeyer Foundry
Commentary:  Bleymeyer is undoubtedly a mis-transcription of Blymyer (q.v.), since it does not appear in the Cincinnati city directories of the day.  Source attributions of this name should be interpreted as Blymyer Manufacturing Company.
p.69, Henry Bloemker
Commentary:  Bronze bells by him survive in the St.Louis area.
p.69, Blymyer Manufacturing Company
Predecessor:  Blymer should be Blymyer; it is undoubtedly a mis-transcription of Blymyer (q.v.), since it does not appear in the Cincinnati city directories of the day.
Successor:  should be Cincinnati Bell Foundry Company.
p.70, B. N. & Company
Commentary:  In the 19th century, business names ending in "& Co." were always formed from the last names of the active principals, with the "& Co." representing the existence of silent partners or investors.  Thus the B and N are undoubtedly the initials of the principals.  Since the name "B. N. & Co." does not appear in Cincinnati city directories, but "Blymyer, Norton & Co." does, and steel bells with those markings on their yokes are identical in style, the former is undoubtedly an abbreviation for the latter.  Furthermore, that style is exactly the same as those marked CIN B F CO, for Cincinnati Bell Foundry Company, the ultimate successor of Blymyer, Norton & Company.
p.70, The Bowlden Bell
Commentary:  This trade name was used and proudly claimed by The American Bell & Foundry Company, Northville, Michigan, according to their advertising materials.
p.71, Bradley & Cochran
Compare the same name on page 80.
p.72, Buckeye Bell Foundry
Commentary:  The name Buckeye Bell Foundry seems to have been used throughout the history of this foundry, regardless of changes of ownership.  For an index of chimes made under Vanduzen ownership, as well as more about the history of this foundry, see our Vanduzen index page.
p.72, Burd & Tilden
Years Known in Operation:  1842
Founder:  Principals were William Burd and Richard S. Tilden
Source:  add: Saint Louis city directories (annual)
p.72, Burd, Tilden & Burd
Years Known in Operation:  1842-1845
Founder:  Principals were William Burd, Richard S. Tilden and John W. Burd.
Source:  add: Saint Louis city directories (annual)
Other Facts:  The 1848 advertisement quoted here was actually that of Burd, Rucker & Co.
p.76, photo caption
Champlin should be Chaplin.
p.77-78, Cincinnati Bell Foundry Company
Years Known in Operation:  1885-1925
Predecessor:  Blymer should be Blymyer.
Source:  add: Cincinnati city directories (annual)
Commentary:  In the city directories for Cincinnati, an 1884 advertisement for The Blymyer Manufacturing Company includes Bells among the many kinds of durable goods that they produced.  In the 1885 directory, the Cincinnati Bell Foundry Company first occurs, with an advertisement identifying it as "Successor (in Bells) to The Blymyer Manufacturing Company" (which continued to exist).  Clearly, BMCo spun off its bell-making business into a separate company.  D.W. Blymyer was president of CBFCo and also a partner in Blymyer Mfg. Co.  In 1919, an advertisement for The Cincinnati Bell Foundry Company boasts of "Blymyer Church Bells."  The last city directory in which CBFCo was listed was 1925.  There is no evidence that a separate firm named Cincinnati Bell Company ever existed, so the use of CIN BELL CO on bells must have been a form of abbreviation.
The John B. Morris Foundry Company was indeed a Cincinnati firm, but the 1918 city directory identifies them as proprietors of the Eagle Iron Foundry and Machine Works, which occupied a full city block that was nowhere near the Cincinnati Bell Foundry Company.  None of the principals of the Morris firm have been found to be associated with any of the Blymyer firms.  It is conceivable that the Eagle foundry could hav been a subcontractor for CBFCo, but that does not seem to be sufficient justification for them to claim proprietorship of it.  So this remains a mystery for the time being.
p.79, The Cleveland Bell Mfg & Foundry Company
Other Facts:  On the last line, "bah" should be "bas".
p.79, James Cochran
Successor:  Cockran should be Cochran (twice).
p.79, Fenton & Cochran
see page 89
p.80, Bradley & Cochran
Compare the same name on page 71.
p.80, C. A. Coffin
Commentary: Although I am credited as a source for this information, I cannot now find any record of what I may have sent to Neil years ago.  At present, I do not believe there was ever a person named C. A. Coffin associated with the Buckeye Bell Foundry, nor even such a resident in the city of Cincinnati.  An advertisement in the 1866 city directory makes it very clear that the partnership of Vanduzen & Tift was the direct successor of G.W. Coffin & Co. as the proprietors of the Buckeye Bell Foundry.  G.W.Coffin retired from business at that point, and lived for several years thereafter.
p.80, G. W. Coffin
Successor:  Vanduzen & Tift (see preceding Commentary)
Other Facts:  I have been unable to find any documentation verifying the existence of a person named W. A. Van Duzen (or Vanduzen), whether in Cincinnati or in Ezra W. Vanduzen's family tree.
The last sentence seems to imply that Vanduzen & Tift were not involved with the foundry before they bought out G.W.Coffin.  On the contrary, they had been partners with him in that enterprise since at least as early as 1860, and so would merely have bought out his share of the partnership when he retired.
Commentary:  G.W.Coffin produced bells which were far more ornately decorated than anything made by any other American bellfounder.  The photo on this page does not show his most ornate style, which had fancy sculptural reliefs repeating around the waist of the bell.
p.81, Concordia
Commentary:  This may be a donor's inscription rather than a maker's inscription.  Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, a J.G.Stuckstede from 1881 with just the word "Concordia" on the waist; and there are several other Concordia seminaries.
p.82, Melvin C. Corbett
Years Known in Operation:  1923
Commentary:  Corbett later became a carillonneur; he was a long-time member (and sometime secretary) of The Guild of Carillonneurs in North America.
p.82, Cordry Caughlin Co.
The name should be "Cordry, Caughlan & Co."
Founder:  Caughlin should be Caughlan.
Source:  add: Saint Louis city directories (annual)
p.83, Curtis
Source:  Presumably that bell is bronze.
p.83, S. Davis
Years Known in Operation:  1836
p.84, J. C. Deagan, Inc.
The inclusion of Deagan, who made large tubular bells for tower chimes, is somewhat perplexing, because other known American makers are omitted.  For more about tubular tower bells, see our tubular bells page.
(no additions)
p.89, Fenton & Cochran
see page 79
(no additions)
p.99-101, Hanks
Commentary:  Almost all of the Hanks men mentioned here were related - see our Hanks genealogy page for details.  (The relationship of Arthur Hanks, of Hanks & McGraw, has not been established, so he cannot be found there.)  However, whether they were related to Nancy Hanks Lincoln is uncertain, because her parentage is in dispute.  (See our Commentary on p.12, above.)
p.100, Benjamin Hanks
Address:  As the Other Facts makes clear, the Hankses did not move from Connecticut to New York until 1808.
Other Facts:  Duxburry should be Duxbury (twice).
Hank's should be Hanks' (twice).
p.100, Hanks & Meneely
Years Known in Operation:  1842?-1844?
Founder:  George L. Hanks, Arthur Hanks & James McGraw
Source:  add Cincinnati city directories
Other Facts:  What was transferred from St.Peter in Chains to St.Teresa of Avila was a chime of 11 bells, made by George L. Hanks in 1851 with the assistance of Francis Mayer, who moved to St.Louis, Missouri, later that year.
Commentary:  While Andrew Meneely was apprenticed to Julius Hanks in the Gibbonsville foundry, I do not believe that Hanks was involved with that foundry after Andrew Meneely took it over in 1826.
p.101, George L. Hanks
Commentary:  For an index of chimes made by George L. Hanks, as well as more about the history of his foundry, see our Hanks/Niles index page.
p.102, William Harpke
Years Known in Operation:  1865-1869
Successor:  Harpke & Dauernheim
Source:  add: Saint Louis city directories (annual)
p.102, Harpke & Dauernheim
Predecessor:  William Harpke
Successor:  Harpke Manufacturing Company
Years Known in Operation:  1870-1887
Source:  add: Saint Louis city directories (annual)
p.102, Harpke Manufacturing Company
Years Known in Operation:  1888-1891
Source:  add: Saint Louis city directories (annual)
p.104, Bailey & Hedderly
Other Facts:  New Platz should be New Paltz.
See also John Bailey, page 60.
See also New York Bell Foundry, page 136.
p.106, Henry-Bonnard Company
Other Facts:  "bah" should be "bas".
p.108, James Homan Foundry
Other Facts:  "scraped" should be "scrapped".
p.108-109, Hooper
Commentary:  For an index of chimes made by the Hooper foundry, as well as more about the history of the foundry, see our Hooper/Blake index page.
p.108, Hooper, Blake & Richardson
Source:  add: Boston city directories (annual)
Commentary:  This partnership was in fact not a separate operation, but the proprietors of Henry N. Hooper & Company (see opposite page) from 1833 to 1865.  It was dissolved, and the company reorganized without change of name, on the death of Henry N. Hooper in 1865.
p.109, Henry N. Hooper & Company
Year Closed:  1868
Years Known in Operation:  1830-1868
Predecessor:  Boston Copper Company
Successor:  Wm. Blake & Company
Source:  add: Boston city directories (annual)
p.109, lower figure
This is almost certainly an illustration of the 13-bell chime made for Christ Church, Cambridge, in 1860; possibly it was made from a photograph.  It shows the chime set up in the yard of the foundry, surrounded by the workers and management.  A narrow sign just above the topmost bells reads, "Cast by Henry N. Hooper & Co. Boston".  Two things are especially notable about the chime as shown here. 
Firstly, the chime-playing mechanism, located on the upper deck with four top-hatted gentlement, is a taut-rope chiming rack.  (That could be loosely described as an Ellacombe rack, though the construction is somewhat different.)  Oddly, only 10 ropes are visible below the deck, and only 10 note names are shown on the top rail of the rack. 
Secondly, eight bells are hung for swinging - possibly a diatonic octave on the tenor (which is in the independent frame at left).  While this might seem to suggest, or to be inspired by, the idea of change-ringing (e.g., at Old North Church in Boston), these bells clearly have no stays, and thus could not actually be rung full-circle.
p.111, Jackson Bell and Brass Foundry
Source:  add: Saint Louis city directories (annual)
Commentary:  While the partnership of Mayer & Ruppenthal lasted for about four years (see p.123), they apparently used the Jackson name for only two or three years.
p.112, Cyril Johnston
Commentary:  He doesn't belong in this book; he the head of the Gillett & Johnston bellfoundry in England, which never cast any bells in America.
p.112-114, Jones
Commentary:  Table of weights of Jones bells (supplied by N.G.)
For an index of chimes made by the Jones foundry, as well as more about the history of the foundry, see our Jones index page.
p.112, Jones & Company
Year Established:  1857
Years Known in Operation:  1857-1887
Other Facts:  "it's" should be "its".
p.115, Kaye & Company
Other Facts:  Belleview should be Belleville.
Source:  add: Louisville city directories (annual)
p.116, George H. Kimberly
Other Facts:  Kimberely should be Kimberly.
p.116, Daniel King
Commentary:  It seems odd that both the Founder and the Successor appear to be the same person, especially when there is a separate entry for him (see next page).
p.118-119, Kupferle
Commentary:  There were two men named John Kupferle who worked in the bell and brass industry in Saint Louis.  One of them had middle initial C, and lived until 1908; the other did not, and died in 1875.  They were born a year apart, and thus could not have been brothers.  Although at times they were difficult to distinguish in the city directories (especially because there was in the city a third John Kupferle, who died in 1863), the lineage of the businesses in which they were involved is straightforward.
p.118, Kupferle & Boisselier
Source:  Bellville should be Belleville.
Source:  add: Saint Louis city directories (annual)
p.122, Louisville Foundry
Other Facts:  Rickets should be Ricketts.
p.123, Emil C. Mayer
Address:  Covent should be Convent.
Source:  add: Saint Louis city directories (annual)
p.123, Francis Mayer
Address:  Covent should be Convent.
Source:  add: Saint Louis city directories (annual)
Other Facts:  Append to the last sentence the following: "in the St.Louis area.  It can be seen at the museum of the St.Louis (Missouri) Fire Department."
Commentary:  Francis Mayer must have been trained in Germany.  In 1848, he was working in the bellfoundry of Timothy Dyre of Philadelphia to cast the first chime made in North America (for Charleston, SC).  In 1850-51, he was working in the bellfoundry of George L. Hanks of Cincinnati to cast the second and third chimes made in North America (see our Hanks/Niles index page).  Some of the early bells that he cast in Saint Louis are profusely decordated.
p.123, Mayer & Ruppenthal
Founder:  Emil C. Mayer and Jacob Ruppenthal
Predecessor:  No Data.
Source:  add: Saint Louis city directories (annual)
Commentary:  After this partnership split up, Emil C. Mayer took over Francis Mayer's foundry on Convent Street.  Francis Mayer worked as a moulder for Emil C. Mayer for two years before disappearing from the St.Louis city directories.  It is not known whether the two men were related.
p.124, Wm. McKenna & Son
Successor:  Unknown, but not Emil C. Mayer (of Saint Louis, MO).
p.124-126, McShane
Commentary:  Table of weights of early McShane bells (supplied by N.G.)
Table of weights and prices of 1983 McShane bells (supplied by N.G.)
For an index of chimes made by the McShane foundry, as well as more about the history of the foundry, see our McShane index page.
p.124, Henry McShane & Company
Predecessor:  McShane & Bailey
Years Known in Operation:  1863-1891.
Source:  add: Baltimore city directories (annual)
p.126, McShane Bell Foundry Company
Predecessor:  Henry McShane Manufacturing Co. of Baltimore City, Inc
Successor:  (none)
Years Known in Operation:  c.1904-present
Source:  add: Baltimore city directories (annual)
p.126, McShane & Bailey
Predecessor:  McShane's Bell Foundry
Successor:  Henry McShane & Company
Years Known in Operation:  1857-1863.
Source:  add: Baltimore city directories (annual)
p.127, Meeks & Watson
Name:  Though the firm is commonly known as Meeks & Watson, its official name is Meeks, Watson & Company.  See their Website at
Commentary:  For an index of carillons made by Meeks & Watson, as well as more about the history of the foundry, see our Meeks, Watson & Co. index page
p.127-129, Meneely (West Troy / Watervliet)
Commentary:  Table of weights of Meneely (West Troy) bells (supplied by N.G.)
For an index of chimes and carillons made by Andrew Meneely's foundry, as well as more about the history of the foundry, see our Meneely/Watervliet index page.
p.127, Andrew Meneely
Other Facts, next-to-last line:  "it's" should be "its".
Commentary:  The foundry did not begin making chimes until several years after Andrew Meneely's death in 1849.
p.128, Andrew Meneely & Son
Predecessor:  Phelina should be Philena.
Other Facts: Some historians dispute the alleged connection between the Benjamin Hanks lineage and the Nancy Hanks Lincoln lineage.  Nancy Hanks parentage, and even her maiden name, are not firmly documented.  See the Wikipedia article on Nancy Hanks Lincoln heritage for details.
p.128, Meneely & Company
Commentary:  The earliest known chime made by this foundry is dated 1854.& The first complete chime made in America was cast in 1848 by Francis Mayer working with Timothy Dyre at the latter's bellfoundry in Philadelphia.  This Meneely foundry did produce the first American-made carillon, but it was not the first carillon in America, several having been imported from Europe in prior years (see North American carillon history).
p.130-132, Meneely (Troy)
Commentary:  Table of weights of Meneely (Troy) bells (supplied by N.G.)
For an index of chimes made by Clinton H. Meneely's foundry, as well as more about the history of the foundry, see our Meneely/Troy index page.
Actual production of this foundry was at least 12,400 bells, but certainly not 25,000.  See our Meneely/Troy foundry production analysis for more information.
p.134, Montgomery Ward
Other Facts:  Robuck should be Roebuck (twice).
Commentary:  The practice of contracting for the manufacture of goods under one's own name is now commonly called private label manufacturing.
p.134, More, Jones & Company
Other Facts:  Roger Plaquet of ABA has reported seeing horse car bells made by this firm.
p.135, National Bell Foundry
Other Facts:  Calhoon should be Calhoun (twice).
p.136, N. O. Nelson Mfg Company
Years Known in Operation:  1884-1889
Predecessor:  N. O. Nelson & Company.
p.136, N. O. Nelson & Company
Name:  Copmpany should be Company.
Successor:  N. O. Nelson Mfg Company.
p.136, New York Bell Foundry
See also John Bailey, page 60.
See also Bailey & Hedderly, page 104.
p.136-7, Niles Bell Foundry
Commentary:  For an index of chimes made by the Niles Works, as well as more about the history of this foundry, see our Hanks/Niles index page.
(no additions)
p.140, Perin & Gaff Mfg Company
Years Known in Operation:  1875-1882.
p.141, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
Name:  Navel should be Naval.
p.141, Rankins Snyder H. Co.
Name:  This is undoubtedly the Rankin-Snyder Hardware Company, which operated in Louisville KY from 1883 to 1903 (according to the city directories).
p.143-146, Revere
Commentary:  For more details, see our page on the Revere foundry.
p.147, H. W. Rincker Foundry
Year Established:  1846
Year Closed:  1858
Founder:  Heinrich Wilhelm (Henry W.) Rincker
Predecessor:  None.
Successor:  None.
Commentary:  H.W. Rincker was the eldest of the siblings in his generation of the Rincker family of German bellfounders.  (That family foundry is still in existence - see the Rincker foundry Website.  For an index of chimes and carillons made by them, as well as more about the history of both the German and the American foundries, see our Rincker index page)
p.148, Charles T. Robinson & Company
Years Known in Operation:  1888-1889
Commentary:  Charles T. Robinson apparently seized control of the foundry that had been operated by Blake & Company sometime in early 1888; the Boston city directory for that year not only lists both firms at the same address, but it contains advertisements from both of them using the same Hooper & Co. graphic!  The Robinson firm claimed to be the successor of the Blake firm.  This did not last long; though William S. Blake was apparently unemployed as of the time the 1889 directory was compiled, by the time of the 1890 directory compilation Robinson was gone and William S. Blake was back running the foundry, this time under the name of Blake Bell Company.  For more about the complex history of this foundry, see our Hooper/Blake index page.
p.150, Schmidt & Wilson Brass Foundry
Other Facts:  Sain should be Saint.
p.151, L.H. & G.C. Schneider
Commentary:  The hypothesis is correct; in 1862, the partnership of L.H. & G.C. Schneider was operating a brass foundry at 271 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.  The principals were Lewis H. Schneider and Gottleib C. Schneider.  Further research into the city directories would probably show how long this foundry was in operation.
p.151, Schulmerich
Commentary:  Before entering the handbell business, Schulmerich was a producer of electronic devices that imitated carillons.  For many years they were also the American representative of the Eijsbouts bell foundry of the Netherlands, so their name may appear on some Eijsbouts bells.  It is also possible that the Liberty Bell replica mentioned here was made for Schulmerich by Eijsbouts.  The company was dissolved in 2014; its electronic division was sold to Verdin, and its handbell division was reconstituted as a new enterprise.
p.151, photo caption
Schulmarich should be Schulmerich.
p.152, Sellew & Company
Commentary:  The principal of this company in St.Louis was Ralph Sellew; the other principals were his brothers, who operated a similar enterprise in Cincinnati.
p.152, Semple, Birge & Company
Commentary:  This firm was primarily a manufacturers' agent and distributor of agricultural machinery and related products.  It seems likely that they sold bells made by others.
p.152, Sheriffs & Loughrey
Commentary:  This bell and brass foundry was in business from 1869 to 1872; its principals (John B. Sherriff and Hugh Loughrey) were involved in similar enterprises both before and after this period, with various other partners.
p.155-158, Stuckstede
Commentary:  Table of weights of large Henry Stuckstede bells (supplied by N.G.)
Table of weights of small Henry Stuckstede bells (supplied by N.G.)
For an index of chimes made by the first Stuckstede foundry, as well as more about the history of both Stuckstede foundries, see our Stuckstede index page.
Both Stuckstede foundries used the Germanic profile of angular sound bow, but their work is easily distinguishable by significant differences in shape of yoke, shape of A-frames, and style of lettering, as well as the firm names. 
p.156, J.G. Stuckstede & Bro.
Predecessor:  J.G. Stuckstede
Successor:  Henry Stuckstede & Co.
p.157, Stuckstede & Bro.
Commentary:  Table of weights of Stuckstede & Bro. bells (supplied by N.G.)
The sons of J.G. Stuckstede were originally named John Henry (called Henry) and John Herman (called Herman), following the German tradition of using both honorific and personal given names.  When both were Americanized to John H., it caused considerable confusion, so John Herman reversed his given names to become Herman J.
(no additions)
(no additions)
p.180, Van Bergen Bell Foundry
Commentary:  H.T. VanBergen was a brother of A.H. VanBergen, who continued to operate the family foundry in Heiligerlee, Netherlands.  The two brothers worked together on some American chimes and carillons, with the larger bells being cast in Heiligerlee and the smaller ones in Greenwood.  For an index of chimes and carillons made by both foundries, as well as more about the history of the foundries, see our Vanbergen index page.
p.180, photo
Commentary:  The larger bells, which have fancy shoulder bands and button tops, were cast in Heiligerlee; the smaller ones, with straight necks and no decoration, were cast in Greenwood.  These 15 bells are most likely the chime that was made for Ousley Methodist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, in 1961.
p.161-2, Vanduzen
Commentary:  For an index of chimes made by the Vanduzen foundry, as well as more about the history of this foundry, see our Vanduzen index page.
p.161, W.A. Vanduzen
Commentary:  This entry is very puzzling, because there appears to be no mention of a W.A. Vanduzen in the Cincinnati city directories of the day.  The first mention of any Vanduzen connected with foundry work occurs in 1853, when E.W. Vanduzen was identified as a bell founder (living across the river in Newport).  By 1860, Ezra W. Vanduzen and Cornelius Tacitus Tift were partners in G.W.Coffin & Company.  and after the retirement of G.W. Coffin, they were the principals of Vanduzen & Tift.  Ezra's middle name was Williams, after his paternal grandmother's maiden name, so it is highly unlikely that he changed his name from W.A. to E.W.  It's a mystery!
p.161, Vanduzen & Tift
Founder:  Ezra Williams Vanduzen and Cornelius Tacitus Tift
(see preceding Commentary)
p.163, The Verdin Company
Other Facts:  mobil should be mobile; it's should be its.
p.170, F. A. Witte
Other Facts:  "Never the less" should be one word.
p.170, Witte Hardware Company
Years Known in Operation:  1881-1900+

Webmaster's Endnote

I've known and respected Neil and his work for many years.  For all that time, it has clearly been his intention to publish a book about American bellfoundries.  So when he let me make an extract from his database to support my own researches, I honored his intention by keeping that extract confidential.

Over the half century and more that I have been compiling information about carillons, and later including information about chimes and then about tower bells in general, I have from time to time been urged to "write a book, Carl!"  I resisted that urge because of the very obvious difficulty that such a book would be obsolete by the time it came off the press.  Publishing articles in the GCNA Bulletin from time to time was not a useful alternative, because so much information changed so frequently.  Thus I was very pleased when the Internet and the World Wide Web came along, as it offered a method of publication that could readily be updated as often as needed.

Now the time has come for Neil to publish his book, and it has been well worth the wait.  So I am happy to join forces with him by providing a means through which it can be kept up to date with the results of future researches by both of us.  Watch for future additions!

/s/   Carl Scott Zimmerman, Campanologist

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This page was created 2016/10/14 and last revised 2016/12/31.

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