C.S.Bell and his bellfoundry
When was my bell made? is the most common question asked by owners of postmount farm bells and other cast steel bells. Probably that's because those bells typically are not dated (as cast bronze bells usually are). However, in the case of bells which obviously came from Hillsboro, Ohio, it is at least possible to determine the time period within which the bell must have been made. That is because the name of the firm changed as follows:
Years of operation
Type of Operation
C. S. Bell-1875 - 1882 Single proprietorship
C. S. Bell & Co.-1882 - 1894 Partnership
The C. S. Bell Co. 1894 - 1970s Corporation
In all cases, the maker's name appears not
on the bell itself,
as it usually does for bronze bells, but on the yoke from which the bell is hung.
Postmount steel bells from this source cannot be dated more precisely than that. Larger steel bells (those supported by a pair of side frames) can sometimes be dated by looking at the inside of the bell. For some years, foundry crews were in the habit of stamping a date code on the inside mold of a bell before casting it.
Who made my bell? is the next most common question asked by owners of bells. If it has any of the variants of "C.S.Bell" shown above, then it was almost certainly made by Charles Singleton Bell or the company which he began in Hillsboro, Ohio. However, if the bell shows no significant signs of use, then it could be a modern reproduction from some other source. Note that not all bells manufactured by this company bore one of these names, because some were sold through catalog houses or other retail channels; those bells either were unlabeled or bore the name of the retailer.