Monday, June 22, 2015

Saved by the bell

A manual trip bell, probably used as a school fire alarm bell.  Such bells were also used in factories, mines and boxing rings.  They came of age during the mid- to late 19th century.  This one was made by the George C. Reiter Company of Canton, Ohio which, along with the Bevin Brothers Manufacturing of East Hampton, Conneciticut, dominated this market.  Reiter was controlled by Mrs. Helen Reiter from 1927 to 1948, after which it became a division of the Wendel L. Jenkins Company in 1948.  Mrs. Reiter must have been a truly impressive woman, running a gray iron foundry for twenty years during those predominantly misogynistic decades!

These bells had two arms:  a trip arm and a striker arm, both usually made of either steel or brass.  It's a brilliantly simple mechanism.  As you can see, both arms are spring loaded.  As you pull down on the trip arm acts as a cam, lifting the striking arm until the latter slides over the former and strikes the bell.

It has a loud and lovely sound.

For more information, visit Old School Fire Alarms.

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