Index to chimes by McShane

The McShane bellfoundry has provided bells for various chimes throughout North America.  Some of them were later expanded to carillons to other bellfounders.  See the bottom of this page for contact information and various historical notes.

For an explanation of what this index contains (and does NOT contain), and of the additional details on each entry, see the Bellfoundry Indexes Advice.


McShane, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Chimes of unknown date could have been produced as early as 1876, but are most likely to have been made either between 1890 and 1908 or after 1928.
BALTIMORE - STJ               : USA - MD     1??? C  chime
   St.John's Episcopal Church--Huntingdon
BROOKLYN - STMY               : USA - NY     188? C  chime
   St.Mary's Catholic Church
CHATHAM                       : CANADA - ON  189? C  chime
   First Presbyterian Church 
DELAWARE - STM                : USA - OH     1??? C  chime
   St.Mary's Church (RC)
DETROIT - STS                 : USA - MI     19?? C  chime
   St.Stephen's (Polish) Catholic School 
DETROIT - TE                  : USA - MI     1??? C  chime
   Trinity Episcopal Church 
ELIZABETH                     : USA - NJ     1??? C  chime
   St.Patrick's Roman Catholic Church 
GLEN MILLS                    : USA - PA     1??? C  chime
   Glen Mills Schools Library 
   (formerly Smith Memorial Chapel) 
HARRISON                      : USA - NJ     1??? C  chime
   Holy Cross Catholic Church 
Hoboken                       : USA - NJ     18?? -  great
   (unknown)
KEARNY                        : USA - NJ     1??? C [chime]
   Holy Communion Episcopal Church
KNOXVILLE - SP                : USA - TN     1??? F  chime
   Second Presbyterian Church
Newark                        : USA - NJ     18?? -  great
   (unknown)
NORWALK                       : USA - OH     1??? C  chime
   St.Paul's RC Church 
PITTSBURGH - STS              : USA - PA     1??? C  chime
   St.Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church
ROANOKE - G                   : USA - VA     1??? C  chime
   Greene Memorial Methodist Church 
SHENANDOAH                    : USA - PA     1??? C  chime
   St.George's Catholic Church (Lith.)
UTICA - STJ                   : USA - NY     1??? C  chime
   St.John's RC Church 
VICKSBURG                     : USA - MS     188? C  chime
   St.Paul Catholic Church 
WILMINGTON -- FA              : USA - NC     189_ C  chime
   Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church 
   
READING - STP                 : USA - PA     1875 C  chime
   St.Paul's Catholic Church
GARDEN CITY                   : USA - NY     1876 C  chime
   Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation 
HALIFAX - STM                 : CANADA - NS  1879 C (chime)
   St.Mary's Cathedral Basilica (RC)
ORANGE - STJ                  : USA - NJ     1881 C  chime
   St.John the Evangelist Catholic Church 
RICHMOND - C                  : USA - VA     1882 C  chime
   Talbott Chime
   Centenary United Methodist Church 
WARREN - P                    : USA - PA     1882*C  chime
   Park 
   * (made for St.Mary's Catholic Church, Buffalo, NY)
BALTIMORE - STV               : USA - MD     1883 C  chime
   St.Vincent de Paul Catholic Church
CHELTENHAM                    : USA - PA     1883 C [chime]
   St.Paul's Episcopal Church
HYDE PARK                     : USA - MA     1883 C  chime
   Church of the Most Precious Blood (RC)
PORTSMOUTH                    : USA - NH     1883 C  chime
   Christ Episcopal Church
STILLWATER                    : USA - MN     1883 C  chime
   St.Michael's RC Church 
SAINT JOHN - IC               : CANADA - NB  1884*F  chime
   Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
   * installed here in 1885
BUFFALO - STM                 : USA - NY     1885 C  chime
   St.Michael's Catholic Church
CORNWALL                      : CANADA - ON  1885 C  chime
   The Mountain Chime
   Trinity Anglican Church 
OMAHA - T                     : USA - NE     1885 C  chime
   Trinity Cathedral (Episcopal) 
SAINT CATHARINES              : CANADA - ON  1887 F  non-trad#
   St.George's Anglican Church 
COVINGTON - T                 : USA - KY     1888 C  chime
   Trinity Episcopal Church 
NEW BEDFORD - STL             : USA - MA     1888 C  chime
   St.Lawrence Martyr RC Church 
PROVIDENCE - STMAY            : USA - RI     1888 C  chime
   St.Mary's Catholic Church 
ANNISTON                      : USA - AL     1889 C  chime
   Church of St.Michael & All Angels (Episcopal)
DANBURY - STPE                : USA - CT     1889 C  chime
   St.Peter's Catholic Church 
BEAVER                        : USA - PA     1890 C  chime
   Trinity Episcopal Church 
   originally in Rochester, PA
EXETER                        : CANADA - ON  1890 F  chime
   Trivitt Memorial Church (Anglican) 
     and Precious Blood Mission (RC) 
WEST CHESTER                  : USA - PA     1890 C  [chime]
   Holy Trinity Episcopal Church 
GLOUCESTER CITY               : USA - NJ     1891 C  chime
   St.Mary's Catholic Church 
KEY WEST                      : USA - FL     1891 C  chime
   St.Paul's Episcopal Church 
WAYNE                         : USA - PA     1891 C  chime
   St.Mary's Episcopal Church 
TAMAQUA                       : USA - PA     1892 F  chime
   Trinity United Church of Christ 
FREDERICK - E                 : USA - MD     1893 C  chime
   Trinity Chimes
   Trinity Chapel 
   Evangelical Reformed Church (UCC) 
OCEAN CITY - T                : USA - NJ     1893*C  chime
   Ocean City Tabernacle 
   * made for a different site
BLOOMINGTON                   : USA - IL     1895 C  chime
   St.Patrick's Catholic Church
CHICAGO - STJCH               : USA - IL     1895 C  chime
   St.James Catholic Church 
KANSAS CITY - IC              : USA - MO     1895 C  chime
   Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception 
     (Roman Catholic)
PORTLAND - STL                : USA - ME     1896 C  [chime]
   St.Lawrence Congregational Church 
   (formerly Union Congregational?) 
DES MOINES - STP              : USA - IA     1898 F  trad*
   Cathedral Church of St.Paul (Episcopal) 
MCDONOGH                      : USA - MD     1898 C (chime)
   Tagart Memorial Chapel 
   McDonogh School 
CHAMBERSBURG                  : USA - PA     1899 C  chime
   First United Methodist Church 
     (was First Ev.United Brethren Church)
DETROIT - STAN                : USA - MI     1901 C  chime
   Basilica of Ste.Anne de Detroit
FARIBAULT - OMS               : USA - MN     1902 C  chime
   Bishop Whipple Memorial Chime
   Bishop Whipple Memorial Tower 
   Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour (Episcopal)
LOUISVILLE - WS               : USA - KY     1902 C  chime
   Parr Memorial Chimes 
   (in memory of Maria Marmaduke Parr)
   Walnut Street Baptist Church (SBC) 
ROCHESTER - STMI              : USA - NY     1903 C  chime
   St.Michael's Catholic Church 
BLOOMINGTON - 3               : USA - IN     1905 C  (chime)
   Student Building 
   Indiana University 
JANESVILLE                    : USA - WI     1907 C  chime
   First Congregational Church, UCC 
LOS ANGELES - STA             : USA - CA     1907 C  chime
   St.Agnes Catholic Church 
BALTIMORE - CC                : USA - MD     1908 C  chime
   New Refuge Deliverance Cathedral 
   (formerly Christ Episcopal Church) 
FALL RIVER - CH               : USA - MA     1908 C  [chime]
   City Hall
MONTPELIER                    : USA - VT     1908 C  chime
   Trinity United Methodist Church 
BRIDGETON                     : USA - NJ     1909 C  chime
   Central United Methodist Church 
CAMBRIDGE                     : CANADA - ON  1909 C  chime
   Central Presbyterian Church
GRAND RAPIDS - STA            : USA - MI     1909 C  chime
   Cathedral of St.Andrew (RC) 
PHILADELPHIA - STJL/1         : USA - PA     1909 C  chime
   Wanamaker Mausoleum 
   Church of St.James-the-Less (Episcopal)
DECATUR                       : USA - IL     1910 C  chime
   The Conklin Memorial Chimes
   First United Methodist Church 
MIDDLETOWN --                 : USA - NY     1910 F  chime
   St.Joseph's Catholic Church 
SAINT MARY-OF-THE-WOODS       : USA - IN     1910 C  chime
   Church of the Immaculate Conception 
   St.Mary-of-the-Woods College 
CHATTANOOGA                   : USA - TN     1911 C  chime
   St.Paul's Episcopal Church 
FORT WORTH - TS               : USA - TX     1911 C  chime
   Harrison Chimes
   First Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) 
   (including Taylor Street Presb. Church) 
SYDNEY                        : CANADA - NS  1911 C  chime
   St.Andrew's United Church
DENVER - ICC                  : USA - CO     1912 C  chime
   Immaculate Conception Cathedral (RC) 
NIAGARA FALLS - CC            : CANADA - ON  1912 C  chime
   Christ Church (Anglican) 
NIAGARA FALLS - Z             : USA - NY     1912 C  chime
   Zion Lutheran Church (ELCA)
PHILADELPHIA - CS             : USA - PA     1912 C  chime
   Cathedral Church of the Saviour 
WILMINGTON - W                : USA - DE     1912 F  chime
   Westminster Presbyterian Church (PCUSA)
DUBUQUE                       : USA - IA     1913 C  chime
   St.Luke's United Methodist Church 
FORT WASHINGTON               : USA - PA     1913 C  (chime)
   St.Thomas' Episcopal Church 
HAMILTON - STG                : CANADA - ON  1913 C  chime
   St.Giles United Church 
     (was St.Giles' Presbyterian Church) 
ROSEMONT                      : USA - PA     1913 F  chime
   Memorial Church of the Good Shepherd (Episcopal)
VAN WERT                      : USA - OH     1913 C  chime
   St.Mark's Lutheran Church (ELCA)
HELENA                        : USA - MT     1914 C  chime
   St.Helena's RC Cathedral 
MOUNDSVILLE                   : USA - WV     1914 C  chime
   Simpson United Methodist Church 
     (was First M.E. Church) 
COLUMBUS - OSU                : USA - OH     1915 F  chime
   Orton Hall 
   Ohio State University 
DE LAND                       : USA - FL     1915 C  chime
   The Eloise Chimes
   Hulley Tower 
   John B Stetson University 
FORT DODGE                    : USA - IA     1915 C  chime
   First United Methodist Church 
GLENDALE - CC                 : USA - OH     1915 F  chime
   Christ Church - Glendale (Episcopal)
MALDEN                        : USA - MA     1915 C  chime
   First Baptist Church of Malden (ABC)
SAN RAFAEL                    : USA - CA     1915 C  chime
   First Presbyterian Church (PCUSA)
TALLAHASSEE                   : USA - FL     1915 F  chime
   Lewis Chime
   St.John's Episcopal Church 
HASTINGS - FM                 : USA - NE     1916 C  chime
   First United Methodist Church 
SAINT JOHNS                   : USA - MI     1916 C  chime
   First Methodist Church 
SIOUX CITY - F                : USA - IA     1916 C  chime
   First United Methodist Church 
WALTHAM                       : USA - MA     1916 C  chime
   Beth Eden Baptist Church (ABC)
WEST NEWTON                   : USA - MA     1916 C  chime
   First Unitarian Church
WINCHESTER                    : USA - VA     1917 C  chime
   Grace Evang. Lutheran Church (ELCA)
BALA-CYNWYD - STM             : USA - PA     1918 C  chime
   St.Matthias Catholic Church 
ALLIANCE                      : USA - OH     1919 C  chime
   Christ United Methodist Church 
   (formerly First Methodist Church) 
KANSAS CITY - IB              : USA - MO     1919 C  chime
   Independence Boulevard Christian Church
     (Disciples of Christ) 
KEY WEST                      : USA - FL     1919 R  chime
   St.Paul's Episcopal Church 
UPPER MONTCLAIR - STJ         : USA - NJ     1919 C  chime
   St.James Episcopal Church 
HIGH POINT                    : USA - NC     1920 C  chime
   Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church
KANSAS CITY - V               : USA - MO     1920 C  chime
   Visitation of the Blessed Virgin RC Church
LANCASTER - G                 : USA - PA     1920 F  chime
   Grace Lutheran Church (ELCA) 
OIL CITY                      : USA - PA     1920 C  chime
   Christ Church (Episcopal)
PHILADELPHIA - CS             : USA - PA     1920 R  chime
   Cathedral Church of the Saviour 
PITTSBURGH - H                : USA - PA     1920 C  [chime]
   Highland Presbyterian Church 
URBANA - 1                    : USA - IL     1920 C  chime
   The Senior Memorial Chime
   Upper belfry 
   Altgeld Hall 
   University of Illinois 
BIRMINGHAM - HM               : USA - AL     1921 C  chime
   The McCoy Tower Bells
   Highlands United Methodist Church 
JOHNSTOWN                     : USA - PA     1921 C  chime
   First Lutheran Church (ELCA) 
NEW ORLEANS - HN              : USA - LA     1921 C  chime
   Holy Name of Jesus Church (RC)
SAINT LOUIS - HC              : USA - MO     1921 C  [chime]
   Holy Communion Episcopal Church
SALISBURY - TM                : USA - MD     1921 C  chime
   Trinity United Methodist Church 
SHREVEPORT - FB               : USA - LA     1921 C  chime
   First Baptist Church (SBC)
NORTH MANCHESTER              : USA - IN     1922 C  chime
   Manchester College 
OKLAHOMA CITY - FUMC          : USA - OK     1922 C  chime
   First United Methodist Church of Oklahoma City 
BOSTON - AS                   : USA - MA     1923 C  chime
   All Saints Church (Episcopal)
LEHIGHTON - Z                 : USA - PA     1923 C  chime
   Zion United Church of Christ (UCC)
     (was Zion Reformed Church) 
READING - W                   : USA - PA     1923 C  chime
   Wesley United Methodist Church 
     (was Windsor Street Methodist Church)
RED BANK                      : USA - NJ     1923 C  chime
   St.James' Catholic Church 
SAN ANSELMO - SFTS            : USA - CA     1923 C  chime
   San Francisco Theological Seminary
WATERLOO                      : USA - IA     1923 F  chime
   First Presbyterian Church (PCUSA)
MEDFORD - STJ                 : USA - MA     1924 C  chime
   St.Joseph's RC Church 
NEWNAN                        : USA - GA     1924 C  chime
   Newnan Presbyterian Church 
OXFORD - 1                    : USA - OH     1924 F  chime
   Molyneaux-Western Bell Tower 
   Miami University 
BALTIMORE - ML                : USA - MD     1925 C  [chime]
   Martin Luther Ev.Luth. Church (ELCA)
CATASAUQUA - F                : USA - PA     1925 C  chime
   Edwin Thomas Memorial Chimes
   Catasauqua Presbyterian Church (PCUSA)
     (was First Presbyterian Church)
MONONGAHELA                   : USA - PA     1925 C  chime
   First United Methodist Church 
MUNCIE - FP                   : USA - IN     1925 C  [chime]
   First United Presbyterian Church 
FALKIRK                       : SCOTLAND-ST  1926 C  chime
   "Auld Kirk" Presbyterian Church 
LONGVIEW                      : USA - WA     1926 C  chime
   Longview Community Church 
PHILADELPHIA - W              : USA - PA     1926 C  chime
   Wynnefield Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) 
WARREN - FM                   : USA - PA     1926 F  chime
   First United Methodist Church 
CHEYENNE                      : USA - WY     1927 C  chime
   St.Mark's Episcopal Church 
EMMAUS                        : USA - PA     1927 C  chime
   St.John's United Church of Christ (UCC)
     (was St.John's Reformed Church) 
PLATTSBURGH - STJ             : USA - NY     1927 C  chime
   St.John the Baptist RC Church
WEST NEW YORK                 : USA - NJ     1927 C  chime
   St.Joseph of the Palisades RC Church
COLUMBIA                      : USA - PA     1928 C  chime
   St.John's Evang. Lutheran Church (ELCA)
BEAVER FALLS                  : USA - PA     1929 C  chime
   McCartney Library 
   Geneva College 
GETTYSBURG - STJ              : USA - PA     1929 C  chime
   St.James Lutheran Church (ELCA)
CARLISLE                      : USA - PA     1930 C  chime
   First United Church of Christ (UCC)
DELAWARE - OW                 : USA - OH     1930 C  chime
   Stuyvesant Hall 
   Ohio Wesleyan University 
WILKINSBURG - STJ             : USA - PA     1930 C  chime
   St.James Catholic Church 
ATLANTA - FP                  : USA - GA     1931 F  non-trad*
   Devereaux McClatchey Carillon
   First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta 
BALTIMORE - OS                : USA - MD     1936 C  chime
   Our Saviour Lutheran Church (LCMS)
EAU CLAIRE - G                : USA - WI     1936 C  chime
   Grace Lutheran Church (ELCA) 
BALTIMORE - CL                : USA - MD     1958 C  chime
   Christ Lutheran Church (ELCA)

Contact:

The McShane bell foundry was the last survivor of the seven historic American bellfoundries known to have made chimes.  The present company bearing that name can be contacted as follows:
    McShane Bell Company
    11460 Dorsett Rd, Suite 200
    Maryland Heights, MO 63043
    Tel:   410-636-4390
    Email: sales@mcshanebell.com
    Web:   www.mcshanebell.com

Historical Notes:

The McShane Bell Foundry was started by Henry McShane (1833-89).  He had arrived in this country in 1847 as an immigrant from Dundalk, Ireland; his occupation prior to arrival was recorded as "currier".  After being employed in the Baltimore brass foundry of Clampitt & Regester (later Regester & Webb) for several years, he set up his own bell and brass foundry in 1856.

Also arriving from Ireland just before or after Henry were five siblings, at least one of whom joined him in the foundry business for some years. 

Names the firm has held:
  McShane's Bell Foundry (1856-7)
  McShane & Bailey (1857-63)
  Henry McShane & Co. (1863-1891)
  Henry McShane Manufacturing Co. of Baltimore City, Inc. (1891-1904)
  McShane Bell Foundry (1891-1904)
  McShane Bell Foundry Co. (1905-2019)
  McShane Bell Company (2019-present)

In 1889, McShane cast a new bell for the Baltimore City Hall.  Weighing 7100 pounds, this is the largest McShane bell known to be still in service, although not the largest that they ever made.  A news article (5Jan2008) on restoration of the striker for this bell tells more about it, but unfortunately has no photo.

At one time, the McShane foundries also produced piping, plumbing fixtures, etc.  After part of the foundry burned in 1893, the non-bell work was moved to a newly-constructed facility in a previously undeveloped area on the shores of the nearby Patapsco River.  When the railroad followed the foundry to the area in 1895, it needed a name for the railroad stop.  William James McShane, vice-president of the company, gave it the name Dundalk, after his father's birthplace.  Thus began the modern town of Dundalk.  However, the McShanes did not stay there long, because in 1900, the pipe foundry was sold to the Central Foundry.

That sale was the first step in what eventually became a wholesale breakup of the McShane Manufacturing Company; it may have been caused by the financial recession of the late 1890s.  Nevertheless, the company had helped establish modern-day Dundalk's identity as a factory town.  A McShane Way still runs north from Dundalk Avenue, though the last remaining segments of the Dundalk foundry were razed in 1981.  And the change in ownership had little effect on the operations of the bell foundry; its products retained a consistency of style and quality throughout all of the vicissitudes of the business.

In November 1903, the McShane Manufacturing Company went into receivership.  Although the bell foundry retained the McShane name, it took some time for the breakup of the larger firm to be completed, because wasn't until December 1904 that the bell portion of the McShane Manufacturing Company was sold for $20,000 by the receivers -- property, foundry equipment, tools, patterns, blueprints and even office stationary.  The purchaser was Wilson M. Cary, Jr., scion of an old and distinguished Baltimore family.  (The "Jr." suffix distinguished him not from his father but from his uncle; it was dropped after his uncle's death, and replaced by "Sr." when he named a son after himself.)  Cary had previously been manager of The Wilson Distillery Company of Baltimore, of which his father was secretary and treasurer (i.e., chief executive officer).

Apparently the foundry itself was unaffected by the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904, though there are reports that many records were destroyed.  Certainly the capability of the foundry to produce chimes was not materially affected, as the index above demonstrates.

The receivership that had begun in 1903 ended in June of 1905, but further changes were to come.  Later that year, the revitalized McShane Bell Foundry Company purchased the brass foundry assets of its former parent, and in February 1906 those assets were dismantled and moved to the bellfoundry, which was expected to continue its operations on a larger scale than before.  In the following years, the bellfoundry regularly advertised in The Baltimore Sun for both male and female employees in occupations that seem more suited to brass foundry work than to the making of bells.

The purchase of the brass works may have been made possible by the addition of outside investors, because a 1908 newspaper article identified Alan P. Smith as vice-president of the McShane Bell Foundry Company.

In July 1914, the foundry effectively swapped its former property on the southwest corner of Holliday and Centre streets with a property on the south side of the Baltimore Belt Line railroad, east of Harford road; the swap involved Frank M. Gorsuch, trading as the Baltimore Hub Wheel and Manufacturing Company, and was reported in The Baltimore Sun on Sunday 19 Jul 1914 (p15).

The following year, a local newspaper report about the production of munitions for war (The Baltimore Sun, Sunday 29 Aug 1915, p14) mentioned that Wilson M. Cary, Jr., was president of the company at that time.  But his tenure in that position is unclear.

In 1933, the McShane Bell Foundry Company (described in a newspaper article as a plumbing supply company) petitioned the circuit court for power to dissolve itself, which presumably equivalent to bankruptcy.  The following year, another newspaper article announced that the foundry property, located on Harford road at the B&O RR, had been sold by the trustee to D.C.McAleer for $28,250.  Dennis Charles McAleer (1885-1940) was identified in the 1930 census as a building contractor, widowed, with four teenage children.  He was also a director of the Metropolitan Savings Bank of Baltimore, and it is probable that he continued working as a building contractor after acquiring the bellfoundry property.  Certainly his son James was working in the foundry in 1936.

It is not clear just what happened after McAleer's death, but in 1942 the business was purchased by William R. Parker Sr., who had a tool and die machine shop next to the bell foundry.  Thereafter, ownership passed down to Parker's son and grandson. 

In 1946, after yet another fire, Parker Sr. and his wife, Edith Meyers (who ran the front office) moved the foundry to a two-story structure on East Federal Street, near Penn Station.

Advertisement from 1950 in a Baptist newspaper

In 1965, Parker Sr.'s eldest son, William R. Parker Jr., joined the family business there.

A long newspaper article from 1975 describes the busines and mentions many bells made by McShane, as well as a few chimes.

In 1979, after the company lost its lease on the Federal Street property, the Parkers relocated the business from what is still called the Bell Foundry Building in Baltimore to an industrial park in Glen Burnie, a suburb of Baltimore.  (It has also been reported that the company retained ownership of the old foundry premises in the city for a time, but used them only rarely.)  Although the foundry equipment was included in that relocation, very few bells were actually cast there.  The company's focus seems to have been primarily on the sale and maintenance of automated bell ringing equipment, though they did install some new bells, possibly made for them by Taylor of England. 

A 1983 newspaper article indicated that McShane was making bells in Glen Burnie.

A full-page newspaper article from 1991 again described the business.

A business article from Jan.2018 recounted the history the McShane company, and included a large photo taken in the Glen Burnie shop.

In 2019, the last of the Parkers sold the company piecemeal; the molding cases & strickles and some other foundry equipment went to the Sunderlin bellfoundry, while the intellectual property rights and records were acquired by the owner of Americlock of Saint Louis; the two companies now share the same address (see above).

Records of the production of bells by this foundry are incomplete, but a Dec.1905 newspaper article about the production of a chime included statements indicating that nearly 35000 bells had been made since 1856, and many battleships of the USNavy were equipped with them.

A bit of history related to the McShane foundry in Dundalk (payment required for access).

Publications:

In 1888, The McShane Bell Foundry (Henry McShane & Co., Proprietors) published a 120-page catalog of their work, and in 1890 they supplemented it with an additional 30 pages of testimonials.  The catalog advertised the "finest grade of bells for churches, academies, factories, fire alarm, court houses, tower clocks, etc." as well as "chimes and peals and bells of all sizes mounted in the most approved manner and fully warranted."  They cited medals won at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, 1876, and the Paris (France) Exposition of 1879.  Also advertised in the catalog are light house and fog-alarm bells, locomotive bells, plantation and farm bells, steamboat and ship bells, altar gongs and chimes, and hand bells (wood-handled, for schoolteachers, etc.).  Several pages are devoted to various attractive features of McShane bells, viz., materials used, methods of molding and casting bells, design of fittings, inscriptions, transportation, and so forth.  There is the usual discussion on how far bells can be heard.  There are recommendations for methods of hanging in towers, for design of belfries, for regular lubrication, and on how to ring.  There are tables of sizes and weights of bells - from 6200 lbs down to 400 lbs for churches and similar uses, from 350 down to 100 lbs for factory and academy [school] bells, and from 100 lbs down to 25 lbs for plantation and farm bells.  Numerous illustrations include McShane's rotary yoke, McShane's improved friction rollers (for "large Bells of 1,400 pounds and heavier"), tolling hammers, and various chimes in their frames.  All bells of 100 pounds or more were shipped with a three year warranty "not to fracture by regular usage".  There is a long illustrated article about The Centennial Chimes, McShane's first, produced in 1876; and there are reproductions of newspaper articles about several of the subsequent chimes produced by this foundry. 

In 1925, McShane published a booklet about tubular tower chimes.  It mentioned the acquisition of Walter Durfee's business in this field (see our page about tubular bells) and described what McShane proposed to sell.  However, it did not list any actual installations.  A very few are known to have been installed, but no surviving installations have yet been found.

In 1928, McShane published a high-quality booklet about chimes.  A brief introduction included illustrations of two types of bell frame, an electric keyboard, and a "hand console with electric attachment".  The latter incorporated electric solenoids into a traditional chimestand, thus providing both types of action very efficiently.  The introduction was followed by 73 pages, each describing one chime with the following details:

In 1930, The McShane Bell Foundry Co., Inc., published a 40-page catalog of their work, describing themselves as "Founders of superior church bells, chimes and peals, and Bells of All Sizes for fire alarms, court houses, tower clocks etc."  It opened with a full-page engraving of the foundry, which was then located on the Baltimore & Ohio Rail Road at Harford Avenue.  Even allowing for artistic exaggeration, it was quite a large plant, and it had a chime with swinging tenor bell mounted in an open frame atop one of the buildings.  Unfortunately, this catalog did not include any list of actual installations.  But it did contain engraved illustrations of the full range of bells and bell instruments that they were prepared to produce, along with installation instructions and a general history of bells.

It is highly probable that McShane published other catalogs.

Analysis of chime production:

For 43 of the chimes described in the 1928 booklet, there was a custom inscription for each bell of the chime.  For most of the remainder, there was at least a custom inscription on the tenor bell.

Although dates of installation are not explicitly stated, they can in most cases be deduced from the custom inscriptions or from the quoted letters.  It then becomes evident that the chimes are listed in order from newest to oldest, and the remaining dates can be interpolated.  Comparison of these dates with information from other sources shows that this booklet describes every chime which McShane had installed from late 1908 up to 1928.  It's not clear why McShane did not list any of the 30 to 50 chimes which the foundry produced in the three decades prior to 1909.  Perhaps they implemented a significant improvement in tone quality in 1908-9 (though the quality of their castings was always excellent).  It might have been that their records of older chimes were less complete.  Or it might simply have been that a span of 20 years produced a nicely sized booklet.  Whatever the reason, it seems highly probable that those McShane chimes for which the year of installation is presently unknown were made either between 1890 and 1909 or after 1928.

The relationship between pattern weight and note (or "tone") for the 73 chimes produced between 1909 and 1928 is as follows:
Weight
(in pounds)
Tone Number
of chimes
Number
of bells
5,600 B 1 15
4,200 C 2 10 or 11
3,500 D flat 5 12 to 15
3,000 D 26 10 to 16
2,500 E flat 13 10 to 14
2,200
2,000
E 21
2
11
10 or 11
1,650 F 3 10

Since McShane's larger chimes typically had more added semitones (see following table), these figures indicate that the foundry must have understood their own limitations in producing treble bells to accurate pitch.  Probably the smallest bell in any of these chimes would have been a G of about 150 pounds.
Number of bells Number of added semitones
10 1 or 2
11 1 or 2
13 2 or 3
15 4 or 5

(This table is incomplete because we don't have full specifications for most of the McShane chimes.)


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This index page was built from the database on 26-Sep-01 and last revised on 22-Mar-21.

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