'll give you one guess, and it isn't Poe .
A few days ago one of the guys I went to New Orleans with sent me a link to a local auction house
and asked if Sally and I wanted to go check it out. He thought we might be interested in a certain church bell up for auction. Sally had class (that girl is the classiest person I know), but I had no class, and went auctioning.
The event was held several miles south of Bloomington in Wapella, Illinois. Sometimes referred to as "The Los Angeles of McClean County," the town did not disappoint. We got there a little before 5pm and picked through the innumerable lots of items going on the block that evening. I also saw the proprietor of the local furniture consignment shop we go to each Saturday. She was sizing up some new acquisitions for her store, and appeared to be a veteran of these occasions.
When things got started, the auctioneer wasted no time getting his talking speed up to superhuman levels. I was duly impressed, and I'm still not sure what (if anything) he was saying that anyone could expect to understand.
They moved through the lots pretty quickly (including a handful of bungee cords and about 300 Longaberger baskets), and the bell came up. Two men bid, one man remained. Victory was mine! The peal of bells greeted my, ah... It wasn't very dramatic at all, and I paid a pretty cheap sum compared to what I'm finding these things for on ebay.
I think the bell weighs around 70 pounds on its own, and the base weighs about 40. According to the casting, the bell was made by the C.S. Bell Co, and it has a yoke style of #4. The Bell Co. is out of Hillsboro Ohio, and has a pretty rich history, though they are no longer in the bell business. This particular one was cast in (yikes!) 1889. So it's about 116 years old. It has a 20" diameter base, and stands 12" high without the yoke and 16" with. The best part is that it's got MAD PEAL skillz. The tone is strong and loud when the hammer hits inside. More important to bell-folk is saying "It's very mellow."
At some point it was painted this goofy silver, so I'm probably going to bead blast it and maybe have it powder coated flat black, if that's possible. Otherwise I'm totally going with a flourescent shade of ugly.
I finally set up a photo section to hold progress photos
related to the church, now that it's ongoing. Not progressing too much, but definitely ongoing. I'll throw things in there as the situation warrants.
Update: More research reveals this was probably a school bell, not a church bell, and that 1889 is the date of Bell's patent on the alloy or type of manufacturing - not the casting date. Rats.