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tline3open  Need info on Gorham Tea Bell

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Author Topic:   Need info on Gorham Tea Bell
chase33

Posts: 360
Registered: Feb 2008

iconnumber posted 04-28-2008 08:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chase33     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[26-1650]

Hello again,

I am looking to see if anyone has an all-sterling tea (or dinner) bell made by Gorham. I just bought one and it is missing the little chain and ball that makes it ring. Since Gorham made these in a variety of patterns, I am hoping that someone on here has one and would be kind enough to share a picture of the missing pieces so I can see what I need to replace it. I'm sure I can just find a regular bell and remove those pieces but I would like to try to be as accurate as possible before I go that route.

Thanks

Robert

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RichardT

Posts: 7
Registered: Mar 2007

iconnumber posted 05-02-2008 05:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardT     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert -
Here is a Gorham sterling bell. It is lightly gilt,
diameter at rim: 3-1/8"
height: 4-7/8"
monogrammed: F.H.P.
marked: <lion><anchor>G / STERLING / 315 / J

Here is a close-up of its underside. Note that the clapper is suspended on a wire, not a chain. Wire is approx 1-1/4" long. Clapper is approx 1" high.

Hope this helps.
-- Richard

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FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 05-02-2008 06:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I restored a Gorham bell in with a beehive type finial and the clapper was identical to the one shown.

Fred

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chase33

Posts: 360
Registered: Feb 2008

iconnumber posted 05-02-2008 09:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chase33     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi,

Thanks for the pictures. It's konda funny but I picked up a bell (not a silver or gorham one) and saw that it had the same type of mechanism that you show. Now I know what to look for in order to get it ringing again.

Thanks again to both of you

Robert

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-02-2008 10:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On the subject of silver dinner bells, though not especially of Gorham clappers, I'm curious about the bells' tones. I bought a Wood & Hughes bell from the 1870s or 1880s a couple years ago, and I recently bought an art deco, Georg Jensen-esque bell by, I think, Watrous--the mark is a W nestled in the arms of a C. They're both marked sterling & both very similar in weight, but the sound is like night and day. The bell part (as opposed to the handle) of the Watrous bell is bigger than that of the W&H, and as you would expect, its sound is lower in pitch. But the difference goes way beyond pitch. The Wood & Hughes one has a sweet, loud penetrating ring with zillions of rich overtones and undertones that go on forever. The Watrous one is perfectly fine, but nothing to write home about.

What makes the difference? Is it the shape? The weight? The composition of the silver (seems unlikely, since they're both sterling)? The way the silver was worked--cast, spun, raised, or whatever? The clapper? Something I'm not thinking of?

[This message has been edited by Polly (edited 05-02-2008).]

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FWG

Posts: 845
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 05-03-2008 11:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Polly, bell tone is as much art as science. All of the variables you mention can have an effect. The main variables seem to be size, material, shape and weight, but those include subtle details like where it's struck (and how hard, and by what), where and how the handle or suspension is attached, and the specific profile or cross-section of the walls. Hardening and/or annealing affects the crystalline/molecular alignment and compaction. With all that, it's sort of amazing that it's still relatively easy to produce a decent tone!

Long ago I realized that were I independently wealthy I'd be a bell founder. Alas, I am not.

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-03-2008 01:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you, Fred. I wish you were--I would love to hear your bells.

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FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 05-03-2008 03:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of the pleasures of raising a bowl is the tone that it makes when struck on the rim. The tone changes as the shape does and improves when planished.

Fred

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1755
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 05-04-2008 04:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have had a few old coin silver bells, and over 140+/- years of use, the clappers had acted as hammering mechanisms, making it look as though the bells had been hammered from the inside, creating a slight bulge on the dome. Maybe this enhances the sounds of those older bells. Sort of an audio patina.

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-04-2008 09:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, both my bells (the only two I have) have those inner, um, dings. The clappers are hung low enough to strike the bottom edge of the bells, which is extra thick down there--I assumed to make it strong enough to take a pounding. So with my bells, at least, the little bumps must have happened when the bell wasn't rung properly. I don't know how they affect the sound; it would be interesting to find otherwise identical bells with different degrees of clapper-dingedness and compare.

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Kimo

Posts: 1577
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 05-05-2008 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've read that making bells that really ring requires far more than just casting or shaping a lump of metal into the right shape. The internal crystaline structure of the metal needs to be optimized by a process involving hand hammering the metal and heating/cooling it a number of times, and that to be successful the smith has to learn this as an art.

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Ulysses Dietz
Moderator

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 05-15-2008 08:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wonderful bell! Never seen one like it.

Every proper silver bell I've ever seen (and that makes probably about six) uses a clapper structure like that. A chain wouldn't provide enough resistance to the swing, and thus would produce a weak strike and dampen the tone.

I wonder if silver companies thought about the sound qualities when they designed their bells. I own a little silver bell (by Mauser, I think) from 1900, made for Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant as an old lady. It has a brilliant silvery tone that reverberates far beyond what its small size would make you expect. The clapper strikes at the thicker rolled rim. So it seems these little guys were carefully engineered.

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