[Bell Historians] FW: Looking For Bell History.

Carl S Zimmerman csz_stl at s...
Sat Apr 19 02:55:10 BST 2003

Replying to the list (since the topic is appropriate) and to the 
inquirer (who sent me a similar message directly)...

The Buckeye Bell Foundry was begun by George Washington Coffin in 
1837. It went through several changes of ownership before finally 
closing in 1951. So far as I know, all bells made by this foundry 
were bronze, not brass (nor iron). They cast the heaviest bell ever 
made in North America, as well as a number of chimes; a list of these 
(with links to individual pages) can be found at

The initial "G" is often misread as "C" because the difference 
between the two characters is subtle in the octagonal-cut sans-serif 
font which Coffin used for the inscriptions on many of his bells. 
During the period when the Kemper Academy bell was made, Coffin was 
producing the most highly decorated bells ever to come out of any 
American bellfoundry. Typically, the lettering cited by Mr. Kohrs 
would be found in three panels in the shoulder band, alternating with 
three panels of sculpture, most likely showing cherubs in a 
schoolroom. Below these six panels would be one or more repeating 
patterns around the lower edge of the shoulder band. The waist of 
the bell might be plain, but often it displayed a freestanding motif 
in relief, repeated a dozen or more times around the bell (the number 
of repetitions depending on the size of the bell).

An estimate of the value of the bell cannot be given without knowing 
its size and condition.

At least 8 bells from the same bellfounder and of comparable age 
survive in the St.Louis area. I look forward to the opportunity to 
see the Kemper Academy bell for comparison, and invite direct 
correspondence toward that end.

At 13:58 +0100 2003/04/16, DJ Bryant wrote:
>Can anyone help with this?
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Nskohrs at a... [mailto:Nskohrs at a...]
>Sent: 16 April 2003 04:55
>To: djb122 at y...
>Subject: Looking For Bell History.
>A friend of mine recently purchased a large (What appears to be brass)
>bell from an auction at the "recently closed" Kemper Military Academy in
>Booneville, Missouri. The bell was manufactured by C.W. Coffin Buckeye
>Bellfoundry in Cincinnati, Ohio. The date stamped on the bell is 1849.
>It also has a series of inscriptions surrounding the top of the bell. My
>friend is looking for any information on the Buckeye Bellfoundry and any
>info on the how to tell what the inscription represents. Also, is there
>any way to put a value on what the bell is worth? Do you have any info
>on the foundry, and is it still open? Thank you very much for your
> Neal Kohrs
> St.Louis, Mo.
> nskohrs at a...

Carl Scott Zimmerman, Campanologist
Avocation: tower bells: http://www.gcna.org/ (Co-Webmaster)
Recreation: handbells: http://gatewayringers.homestead.com/
Mission: church bells: http://home.swbell.net/csz_stl/TowerBells.html
Voicemail: +1-314-361-5194 (home) E-mail: csz_stl at s...
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - - 19th c. home of at least 33 bell
. . . . . . . . . . . . . foundries or resellers

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