Q: I recently acquired a 16-inch cast-iron bell and yoke. The bell has the number “2” on the top. The yoke is marked “The C.S. Bell Co.,” “2,” and “Hillsboro, O.” on one side and “No. 2 Yoke” and “1886” on the other side. It’s clean and not rusted. What is it worth?
A: C.S. Bell Co. was founded by Charles Singleton Bell. He operated a foundry in Hillsboro, Ohio, beginning in 1858. The company made farm equipment and stoves. One day, while working to develop a new type of metal alloy, Bell accidently dropped a piece of the metal and discovered it made a ringing sound like a bell. The company began making bells from the new alloy, and by the 1880s C.S. Bell was the largest producer of bells in North America. Most bronze bells are marked with the name of the company on the bell, but C.S. Bell always marked the yolk instead. The Bell family continued to operate the business until 1974. Bells were made at the Hillsboro site until at least 1984. Another company, Prindle Station, claims to make bells today that are identical to the original bells made by C.S. Bell. A C.S. Bell Co. bell with a No. 2 yoke sold recently for over $250.