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Holbrook bells and bellfoundries

George Holbrook was perhaps the third major bellfounder in America, after Aaron Hobart and Paul Revere.  This page provides some information about Holbrook's work and Holbrook bells, organized as follows:

Extant bells by George Holbrook

This section presents links to Webpages which mention bells cast by George Holbrook and his descendants.  They are listed in approximate chronological order, and grouped according to the changes in the name, the location and/or the proprietorship of the business.  (There are gaps in the dates because the chronology given here is based mainly on the inscriptions of dated surviving Holbrook bells.)  Actual inscriptions are shown in boldface type when known.

Major George Holbrook, Brookfield, Massachusetts, 1797-1810

Born in 1767, George Holbrook was apprenticed to Paul Revere to learn the machinist's and clockmaker's trades.  Presumably he returned to Revere's employ after earning his rank in the Revolutionary War, because it was not until 1797 that he set up an establishment of his own, in this town.  (At the age Holbrook would have been when Revere cast his first bell, in 1792, his apprenticeship would long since have been completed.)

Major George Holbrook, Medway, Massachusetts, 1816-1820

Holbrook left Brookfield after financial reverses, setling in East Medway after winning a contract to cast a bell for the new meeting house there in 1816.

George H. Holbrook, Medway, Massachusetts, 1820-1828

Major Holbrook's son, George Handel Holbrook (later Col. Holbrook), took over the bellfoundry business from his father in 1820, and carried it on until shortly before his death in 1875.

George H. Holbrook, East Medway, Massachusetts, 1834-1856

East Medway was part of the town of Medway.  It's not clear why the Holbrook foundry began using the name East Medway instead of simply Medway on its bells.

George H. Holbrook & Son, East Medway, Massachusetts, 1865-1875

Upon the death of George H. Holbrook, he was succeeded in the bell business by his grandson, Edwin Handel Holbrook, who had been involved with it since 1868.  E.H.Holbrook sold this firm in 1880, and went into other work.

East Medway was incorporated into the town of Millis in 1885.  The town Town Website formerly had a history of the Holbrook factories and bells, but it seems to have disappeared (perhaps by accident).

General historical links

A National List of Holbrook Bells (with sources but not links)

These Weblinks lead to pages which put Holbrook's bellfounding into the context of the rest of his life.

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This page was created 2002/09/01 and last revised on 2020/08/20.

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