Brass vs bronze and surface finish [Bell Historians] Establishing the origins and age of a hand bell ?

Julian Perfect [bellhistorians] bellhistorians at
Tue Jan 14 12:49:17 GMT 2020

Alison, David, Dickon, and the Group,

Thank you very much for the information.

The polished bell (without the clapper) looks like brass, but are the pair of identical bells brass?
Also, is the rough (unpolished?) finish of the surface of the 'shoulder' and inside of the pair of bells produced by the sand used in casting them?

For completeness, the two bells that are identical have the following dimensions:
Outer (maximum) diameter, 5 inches
Height, 31/4" (three and a quarter inches)
Wooden handle, 51/2  "  (five and a half inches long)
Metal shaft visible between the bell and wooden handle, about 1/2 " (half inch).

The (brass) bell without a clapper is a little larger, with an outer (maximum) diameter of 47/8" (four and seven eighths) and height of 31/2" (three and a half).
It also has what appear to be a crack (or casting fault?) about three inches long running horizontally around it just above the third line up from the base.

With thanks,

From: bellhistorians at <bellhistorians at> on behalf of Revd David Cawley davidl.cawley at [bellhistorians] <bellhistorians at>
Sent: 12 January 2020 20:24
To: bellhistorians at <bellhistorians at>
Subject: Re: [Bell Historians] Establishing the origins and age of a hand bell ?

Dickon is absolutely correct when he identifies these as brass bells.

Taylors used to use a firm in Birmingham to make them for sale, and modern examples are on sale in the Bell Foundry Museum shop.

The appearance is very much late 19th century to the early 20th century. Probably school bells though there were any number of uses to which these robust castings could be put. Usually the handle would break with excessive use rather than the bell !


------ Original Message ------
From: "Julian Perfect julianperfect at [bellhistorians]" <bellhistorians at>
To: "bellhistorians at" <bellhistorians at>
Sent: Saturday, 11 Jan, 2020 At 14:18
Subject: [Bell Historians] Establishing the origins and age of a hand bell ? [4 Attachments]

It has been suggested to me that the Bell Historians Group might be able to provide some information in response to my enquiry below.

I have a couple hand bells which appear to be identical and cast in bell metal (please see the first three of the attached photographs, the 2p coin gives an indication of the dimensions of the bells). I would like to establish, if possible, by whom, where and when these bells were cast, but there are no markings that I can see on either of the bells (or their handles) that might offer any clues. I would be grateful for any information, ideas, or suggestions about this, please.

I would also be interested to hear any ideas about the origins and former use of the bell (missing its clapper) shown in the fourth and fifth of the attached photographs. Again, there are no markings visible on this bell.

With thanks,

Julian Perfect

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