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Bell Foundries in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

At least 37 different business enterprises are known to have made, sold or advertised bells in the city of St.Louis at various times during the last two-thirds of the 19th century, with a few of them lasting into the first half of the 20th century.  One of them was large enough to compete with the major bellfoundries to the east, and was among the four minor American makers of chimes.

These businesses are listed below in four groups.

In each group, the businesses are listed in order of first appearance.  When a firm had different names at different times, those specific names are listed in order of use under the name of a principal proprietor or a generic name.

If you know of a bell which carries any of the names listed below, or a bell marked "St.Louis" with a name that is not listed below, please send me a message about it.  If possible, include photographs (the more detailed, the better); tell me the diameter of the bell (in inches, measured across the mouth) and whatever is known of its history.  In return, I can tell you something of the foundry's history and how your bell compares with others from the same source.  On request, I can also provide free advice regarding maintenance, restoration, etc.

Known bellfoundries:

Names which have been found on bells are shown in green.  All of these foundries produced cast bronze tower bells unless noted otherwise.
1842-47,   Marcus O'Hara
1845-50,   John W. Burd
1845,   Burd, Tilden & Burd
1848,   Burd, Rucker & Co.
1850,   John W. Burd
1852-64,   John Kupferle & Bro., Missouri Bell and Brass Foundry
1852-66,   Francis Mayer
(commonly abbreviated as Fr. Mayer)
1853-1866,   David Caughlan (see photo page):
1853,   Caughlan & Piquett
1857,   Caughlan Bell & Brass Founders
1858,   Caughlan & Bro.
1858-66,   David Caughlan
1855-1931,   first Stuckstede foundry:
1855-62,   J. G. Stuckstede & Co.
1863-83,   J. G. Stuckstede & Bro.
1884-91,   H. Stuckstede & Co.
1892-1931,   The Henry Stuckstede Bell Foundry Co.
    (often abbreviated as "THE HY STUCKSTEDE BELL FDY CO" on the largest bells or "B F CO" on smaller bells)
While the company was apparently incorporated in 1888, when the new name began appearing in city directories, that name did not begin appearing on their bells until 1892.  The reason for the delay is unknown.
1863-93,   Henry Bloemker
1865-73,   William Harpke
1865-69,   Central Bell & Brass Foundry
1870-73,   Harpke & Dauernheim
1866-67,   Kupferle & Boissellier, Eagle Bell & Brass Foundry
1866-71,   E. C. Mayer
1866-69,   Mayer & Ruppenthal
1870-71,   Emil C. Mayer
1867-1882,   Wm Hunt Owen (one 8-inch brass bell)
1877-,   More, Jones & Co. (bronze horse car bells)
1880-,   J. W. Garratt
1880-99,   J. W. Garratt & Co.
1900-06,   J. W. Garratt Brass Foundry Co.
1904-12,   Hewitt Mfg. Co.
1888-98,   George W. Gregg (gong bells)
1890-1961,   second Stuckstede foundry: Stuckstede & Bro.

Private-label resellers of bells:

Names which have been found on bells are shown in green.  All are cast bronze tower bells unless noted otherwise.
1865-1917,   L. M. Rumsey   (large cast bronze by McShane of Baltimore; small cast bronze by first Stuckstede; cast steel farm (and larger) bells by C.S.Bell, Hillsboro, Ohio)
1865-80,   L. M. Rumsey & Co.
1881-1917,   L. M. Rumsey M'F'G. Co.
  (typical abbreviation in city directories:   "Mnfg.")
1875-present,   Witte
1875-80,   F. A. Witte & Co.
1881-present,   Witte Hardware Co. (cast steel farm bells by C.S.Bell, Hillsboro, Ohio)
1877-1917,   Nelson   (by Stuckstede & Bro.)
1877-83,   N. O. Nelson & Co.
1884-1917,   N. O. Nelson Mfg. Co.
18xx,   Shapleigh [research incomplete]
1863-1960,   A.F.Shapleigh Hardware Co. (cast steel farm bells by C.S.Bell, Hillsboro, Ohio)
1881-1900,   David N. Brown Machinery Co.
D N Brown Co. (cast steel farm bells by C.S.Bell, Hillsboro, Ohio)

NOTE:  It is true that we don't yet have direct evidence of any contractual relationships between these firms and the foundries which we presume to have made the bells which they sold under their own names.  And it is true that the C.S.Bell company complained in their catalogues that their products had been used as patterns by imitators.  However, we believe that the imitators produced the anonymous bells which we have seen in the C.S.Bell style, and that the companies listed here were sufficiently reputable not to have resorted to the procurement of imitations.

Known resellers of bells:

1878-98,   P. P. Manion Blacksmith & Wrecking Co.
1873-1922,   Simmons Hardware Co.

Possible bellfoundries or resellers of bells:

1840-48,   Henry M. Snyder
1850-83,   Sellew & Co.
1857-99?,   Conrad Seibel
1859-60,   Adam Caughlan
1859,   Caughlan & Dauernheim
1860,   Cordry, Caughlan & Co.
1864-66,   William Koennker
1866-78,   Smith, Lafayette Foundry
Smith & Beggs
Smith, Beggs & Co.
1867-78,   Manny & Co.
1868-82,   Semple
1868-76,   Semple, Birge & Co.
1877-82,   Semple & Birge Mfg. Co.
1876-83,   George S. Hunt, Diamond Anti-Friction Metal Co.
1879-81,   Ostrander
1879,   Bignall & Ostrander
1880-81,   Goulds & Ostrander
1883-,   Central Union Brass Co.
1883-88,   John R. Calhoun & Co.
1888-19xx,   Louis Seibel & Bro.

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This page was created 2002/04/28 and last revised 2020/01/26.

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