Antique Country Farm Dinner Bells
When dinner was ready on the farm, the large cast iron dinner bell was rung to call everyone to the table. In today’s marketplace there are many replicas of farm dinner bells. To help determine if a farm bell is a replica or an original check the casting edge. Older bells will show wear and a thinning of the casting edge due to age and use. Antique bells were generally cast as one piece and will not have a parting line from a mold. Newer bells are usually cast using a two part mold.
School house bells are generally much heavier than farm bells. An early Sears & Roebuck Company catalog listed farm bells from 35 and 90 pounds, saying that “every farm, no matter how much, should have a good bell”… with a “pleasing tone that can be heard for a long distance.” The Sears school furniture catalogs listed the weight of school house bells between 165 lbs. and 1275 lbs. Bells in schools were distinguished by their sound and clarity although schools also took into account the different sizes of the bells and how much it would cost to ship the bell from the foundry to the school.
You can read more about cast iron bells here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell#Farm_bells