Navy Ship and Motor Boat Bells
Bureau of Construction and Repair Specification, 1918
Adapted from, The Naval Articifer’s Manual: Text, questions, and general information for deck articifers in the United States Navy, compiled and arranged by Assistant Naval Constructor (T.) McCall Pate, USN. United States Naval Institute, 1918
To be of best quality material and workmanship, free from all defects and blemishes which may affect the serviceability or appearance of the bell.
USS Holland (Submarine Torpedo Boat # 1)
Composition and Acoustic Properties
To be cast from a composition of about 78 percent of best new Lake Superior copper and about 22 percent of new block tin. The casting to be homogeneous in character and free from internal stresses or strains which may cause the bell to crack. To possess full, clear, round, and far reaching tones of keys indicated in table forming part of these specifications.
USS Arctic (AF 7), 1941
To be plain, bright finished on the outside only.
USS New Hampshire (Battleship # 25), 1909
Bell clapper to be of gun metal composition, with suitable eye in end for attaching lanyard. The supporting eyebolt and nut of motor boat bell to be of Tobin bronze or gun metal composition. The clapper of the ships bell to be supported by a bronze lug, which is to be secured by a gun metal composition or Tobin bronze T head bolt, nut, and plate washer. Clapper pin to be of Tobin bronze or gun metal composition.
USS Flier (SS 250), 1944
The letters U.S.S., the name of the vessel, and the year of completion, which will be specifically stated in each requisition, are to be cast in relief or engraved and filled with black enamel on each bell, the size for the letters to be as called for in the table forming part of these specifications. All ornamental beading is to be cast in relief on bell. Bells for motor boats and power propelled vessels to which a name is not to be assigned should have the letters U.S.N. only.
Drawing of a ship bell, 1918
The shape, size, weight, tone, size of letters, and size of ship on which various sizes of bells are to be used are indicated in the illustrations, Figure 32 (Ships bell), and Figure 33 (Motor Boat Bell), and Table 10 (Navy Ship and Motor Boat Bell Weights, Tones, and Dimensions).
(a) A variation not exceeding ¼ inch will be permitted on all dimensions, except on shanks, where exact dimensions are required for fitting in supports.
(b) The following variations will be permitted in the approximate weight of bell given in the table, which does not include the weight of clapper and fittings:
- Not more than 5 percent above or below weight given for 20 -, 30 -, and 60 – pound bells.
- Not more than 4 percent above or below weight given for 75 – pound bells.
- Not more than 3 percent above or below weight given for 200 – and 300 – pound bells.
- Not more than 2 percent above or below weight given for 600 – and 800 – pound bells.
For further reading:
Wede, Karl. The Ship's Bell: Its History and Romance. New York: South Street Seaport Museum, 1972.
Note: For more detailed information on bell design and manufacturing, researchers should consult Navy records retired to the National Archives and Records Administration.
9 April 2008