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ORIGINAL HVFC FIREHOUSE BELL SENT FOR REFURBISHMENT
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By Chief Troy Hipsley
March 22, 2023

On Friday March 17, 2023 our 600 lb. Brass Firehouse bell was picked up by a freight company and shipped to the McShane Bell Company in Missouri. The McShane Bell Company was formerly located in Baltimore, Maryland (near where The Baltimore Sun building now sits on Guilford Avenue) from 1856 until their move in 2019.

The regular meeting of October 14, 1901 saw the Company approve the purchase of a 600 lb. bell for the sum of $47.00 plus freight. The bell was originally located in the bell tower of the old fire station and was used to alert members of the location of a fire. This was done by the first member who arrived at the firehouse. When informed of the location of the fire, he would strike the tolling hammer the number of the district, as follows:

NORTHERN FIRE DISTRICT (comprising the territory north of Middletown Road) – Two taps, repeated three or more times.

MIDDLE FIRE DISTRICT (comprising the territory between Middletown Road and Railroad Avenue) – Four Taps, repeated three or more times.

SOUTHERN FIRE DISTRICT (comprising the territory south of Railroad Avenue) –Six taps, repeated three or more times.

In 1976 when the current station was built, a monument was erected in the front of the building. Space was also provided for the original bell from the old firehouse and flagstaffs for the Maryland and United States flags.

The bell will be restored by the McShane bell company to it's original brass luster and returned it to us for placement at a new monument when the new firehouse is completed. McShane takes your bell through a seven-step process of being cleaned of all dirt and toxic Petina. The bell then goes through several steps of being buffed to a beautiful luster. Besides cleaning and polishing of bells to look new again, we also rebuild complete frame works for all bells. These parts include new stands, steel wheels, yokes and support timbers. Additionally, all metal parts are cleaned and then their surface is painted to accent the bell's appearance. The final step of the refurbishing is having the bell polished to look new again. The bell is also clear-coated to protect its new beautiful finish. Stay tuned to our website and Facebook page for updates to our bell restoration progress.



 

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