Sitting just outside the ladies room was this bell:
As you can well imagine, I am immediately drawn to church bells, so I gave it a close inspection. To my surprise and delight the inscription on it says “Buckeye Bell Foundry.” That’s the same foundry that produced the first bell I found in Sichuan that set me on my journey of researching church bells in China, and then eventually writing my book The Bells Are Not Silent: Stories of Church Bells in China.
On the wall above the bell was a small plaque with information about the bell:
The “Voice” of the Cathedral — Cast by G.W. Coffin Buckeye Bell Foundry, Cincinnati, Ohio–1850.
“Between 1915 and 1986 the Cathedral’s “voice” consisted of one bell, cast in Cincinnati in 1850. It had been given to Bishop Cretin by Louis Robert, and had hung in the second and third cathedrals, before being installed in the south tower of the present Mother Church.” (from Eric Hansen, The Cathedral of Sant Paul: An Architectural Biography)
If you’re ever in the Cathedral, be sure to head to the basement to check out the bell, and other interesting historical artifacts.
In my continued quest for more specific information on the bells we found in Sichuan and for more general information on church bells in China, I’ve been doing some research on the Buckeye Bell Foundry in Cincinnati. Apparantly, the foundry was owned by the E.W. Van Duzen Company, another name that we also found engraved on the bell.
On a site called Brosamer’s Bells, I ran across a couple of interesting articles. One is from a Van Duzen Bell catalog published sometime in the1920’s. It is titled “Just a Little Bell History.” It gives the history of bells and some information on Van Duzen bells in particular.
This section caught my eye:
We have furnished over 60,000 bells used in churches, schools, and public buildings. We have bells in some of the most remote corners of the world, in Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, Mexico, and a great number in Canada, and in nearly every city, town, and hamlet in the United States.
I wonder if they knew that one of their bells was hanging in a church in a remote corner of Sichuan Province.