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    Hunt for a bell

    Hey y'all! As most know by now, the New Orleans Steamboat Company is in the process of purchasing the old CASINO ROCK ISLAND for conversion into an excursion boat. I have been tasked with locating a suitable calliope and bell for the vessel. We have secured a calliope, but I'm having trouble locating a bell. Would anyone on here have any ideas of where to find one? I was hoping to find a bell with ties to the river, but if someone knows of a good church bell, I would be happy to look in that direction. Thank you in advance for any help y'all can provide :)

    #2
    Does S&D have a roof bell in its collection that it would be willing to loan? It might be worth a call to J.L.S. to find out. Or an even better idea is would the good people of Stanton Hall in Natchez be willing to loan out the BETSY ANN's roof bell? If so, Capt. Way would surly be smiling!

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      #3
      *Bell looking for a home*
      Steamboating colleagues:
      Interesting request by Mat Dow and 'follow' from Frank Prudent. Naturally, an available bell from a boat would be first choice. Jeff Spear may know in Marietta via S&D. Capt. Bill Judd and others who 'lurk' here may have leads. I think once the word is out with a possible squib in, say, WATERWAYS JOURNAL could help. Any bells on a 'loan' basis from a museum like the Ohio River Museum in Marietta possibly a tough nut to crack once any museum accepts an item formally and legally. Any 'loaned' bell would also possibly have to be covered in insurance. An outright purchase the best route. Yet, who knows?

      There's one dandy steamboat bell just around the corner here where I live from the Greene Line boat GREENWOOD now on display in the courtyard garden of a church. No way they'd let that beauty get away. The famed VERDIN bell foundry also not far away here but that would entail a new 'commission' basis order at $$$$. So sad our late Capt. John Beatty not with us as he had one great collection of old steamboat bells going way back. What ever happened to all of that a good question. Bill Judd may know. What do I know?

      R. Dale Flick
      Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.

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        #4
        What calliope did they secure for use on the boat? What is its heritage?

        Keep your steam up!

        Russ Ryle

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          #5
          Thanks for the good information, yall! I will follow those leads and see what I can manage. While we were here, we went over to St. Louis and visited the folks who have the ADMIRAL's bell. What a gorgeous bell! We also pursued the PRESIDENT's bell since her field is close by. Nothing on either, but they were fun trips to make :)

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            #6
            The air calliope from the P.A. DENNY, built by the Frisbie Engine and Machine Company of Cincinnati, OH.

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              #7
              Hi all: If my information is right, Matt has been offered a E.W. Vanduzen bell, built right here in Cincinnati. If he takes it, the new boat will have quite a Cincinnati connection with the bell and the Frisbie calliope. In Dale's post he wonders about the whistle and bell collection of Capt. John Beatty. John had given that collection to Dan Webster of Warsaw ,Ky thinking they would have a good home, instead Webster held an auction and sold the Beatty collection of to the highest bidders. And there were some real high bidders!

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                #8
                *Capt. Beatty's bells*
                Thanks to Capt. Bill Judd for filling us in with the VANDUZEN bell from Cincinnait and what happened to Capt. John Beatty's fine bell collection. I remember John's bells mounted on that big flatbed truck parked on his property. John mentioned he 'thought' he possibly could have the bell from the ill-fated MOSELLE that exploded here near Fulton, Cincinnati in the 1830s. I wondered about that but did examine the bell in question. Heck, how would I have known? John said he and his late father years ago were doing a job on their salvage boat along the shore where the MOSELLE had gone KERBANG! Said they dredged it up with other old junk and debris. Then again a lot of steamboats had been built and also broken up when retired along that stretch. I don't recall at the time seeing any foundry marks etc. That made me go 'Hmmmmm.' Yet, who knows? John also had relics from his salvage job on the last ISLAND QUEEN in Pittsburgh, 1947 after she blew up, burned. There were 'tubes' of coins: silver dollars, quarters, pennies etc. that had been virtually melted together from the fire in the IQ's Purser office on the boat. Capt. Beatty also nailed it that the IQ's big roof bell bell had "totally melted, ran down in the wreckage in melted globs and stringers." I gather [?] bells have a rather tender melting point as it is. Well, what do I know?

                R. Dale Flick
                Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.

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                  #9
                  I just checked on Google for melting points of brass. Yes, it seems quite possible Capt. John was correct in his description of the ISLAND QUEEN's bell.
                  Metal Melting Points – Guide to melting metals
                  Metal Melting Point Celsius Melting Point Fahrenheit
                  Aluminum 659 1218
                  Brass (85 Cu 15 Zn) 900-940 1652-1724
                  Bronze (90 Cu 10 Sn) 850-1000 1562-832
                  Cast Iron 1260 2300
                  Silver 1763

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                    #10
                    *IQ's roof bell/Metal Melting Point*
                    Steamboating colleagues:
                    Hi, Bob. Thanks for being 'unlazy' like me to go on line for data on "Melting Point for Metals - Celsius and Fahrenheit." Bell metal 77% copper, 23% tin forming 'bell bronze.' Accounts of silver also being cast in the furnace to "sweeten" the tone. The metal in time after cooling forms a corrosion resistant sheen called 'verdigris.' So, you're right on about 'melting temperatures.' Centuries ago [Old Russia] bells had mystcal meaning with a 'voice and a soul.'

                    I hit internet pulling up 'ISLAND QUEEN explosion 1947 pictures.' Anybody examining those photos of the explosion, rapidly advancing fire like a blast furnace with decks collapsing can see the boat's bell and deck sagging down until all rendered black wreckage. Other steel members of the boat also melted. John Beatty raised, slavaged the IQ hull later. The hull could have been repaired, used again with the engines relatively untouched. By then with Ed Schott at CONEY ISLAND it was all over. The last IQ was certainly some boat and anybody who saw her at any age was impressed. They'll never be another like her. Well, what do I know?

                    R. Dale Flick
                    Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.

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                      #11
                      IQ season

                      Dale, what was the extent of the season the IQ ran? She just laid up in Cincy for the winter, right? I recall at one point she tramped down to Baton Rouge and competed against the Streckfus boats, but that was short-lived. Like you, the big L in Lazy is keeping me from getting up and looking that up for sure!

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                        #12
                        *ISLAND QUEEN cruising season*
                        Steamboating colleagues:
                        Judy, good question RE: the last ISLAND QUEEN's seasonal crusing dates and I don't know the exact dates. CONEY ISLAND CO. laid the boat up in the winter just east of their wharfboat foot of Broadway, Cincinnati behind the ice piers where present day Sawyer Point Park is now. Other times at the wharfboat or, if a flood, up along Eastern Ave. I've old B/W photos showing the IQ on her first spring trips to CONEY when they were still painting the boat with the lettering on her wheelhouses only half painted.

                        Like the AVALON here then, the IQ was brought to life on/around early April for cleaning, repairs, painting etc. They did some tramping but the real season opened for the boat and CONEY ISLAND on Memorial Day. Fred Way wrote about the "excursion boat business going dormant when the September school bells rang." The IQ did tramp in September but I've no idea how late in the month or even to October. Capt. Bill Judd may recall. Times different then laying up a boat of that size for five to nearly six months. This today would be financial disaster. The GREENE LINE laid the DELTA QUEEN up here after Thanksgiving to when she came out for Mardi Gras, which dates could vary. This to clean, repair the boat, rest the crew--those not still on the tic to work on her. The GL learned not to run a passenger steamboat on the rivers in the winter even out of New Orleans. Well,what do I know?

                        R. Dale Flick
                        Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.

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                          #13
                          Interesting, Dale. I was particularly intrigued by the statement "The GL learned not to run a passenger steamboat on the rivers even out of New Orleans". Yet, as you say, today this would mean financial disaster. Do you if they ever tried this? If not, how did they "learn" not to do it?

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                            #14
                            *'Off season' steamboat trips/Several reasons then.*
                            Steamboating colleagues:
                            Bob, good questions with, possibly, several answers and views. You no doubt saw personally the DELTA QUEEN cruising in the winter out of New Orleans. When Betty Blake, Bill Muster were involved with then reogranized DELTA QUEEN Steamboat Co., they brought in top travel experts to study the boat, the business and schedules along with pricing. Idea was hatched to cut round trips with all those irksome one way trips for passengers 'out' of one port, 'in' to another with logistics traveling home, bring in more revenue to rotate the boat to New Orleans for late fall, winter, holiday, early spring trips leading into the opening season. A number we know who possibly 'lurk' here would remember just how full the boat was booked. My sentiments were the business had mixed reviews. In time the boat laid up down there with no trips scheduled. And Betty learned some lessons the hard way. What did you see on your end?

                            The older GREENE LINE operation was in a different time with different economics and demography. People not then in taking winter steamboat trips. The GL did all reservations from the office by U.S. Mail, phone and references from some travel companies, railroad ticket offices. Big CARTAN TRAVEL for years booked passengers and groups on the GORDON and DQ by train, bus and later airlines. The GL home office here and with that they laid the boat up after Thanksgiving. The boat given the big once-over in cleaning, painting, repairs. Doc Hawley 'lived' on the DQ here in the winter and tells of how cold the boat can be. Today cruise boats/ships have fast turn arounds with miminal lay up other than major repairs in yards, inspections. Earlier the GL also laid up the GORDON C. GREENE. I've seen old B/W and early color movies of the GORDON C. GREENE and later DELTA QUEEN steaming out from here for Mardi Gras with it down near -0-. On the way down the boat(s) were faced with winter winds, storms, driving snow until well down the Mississippi; then cold, driving rain. We've also seen pictures of the DQ, MQ laid up in NOLA with ice dangling on the wheel, decks etc. Yet, the boat did host many fine Christmas/Holiday trips.

                            The GORDON had miminal insulation in her decks, cabins. The DK/DQ, according to John Burns, Jim Burns's son, said "those boats really never fully insulated as they didn't need it out in California." The Sacramento River boats did face hot sun and heat in the summer. Again, what do I know?

                            R. Dale Flick
                            Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Here's what I saw on my end, Dale: A longer cruising season with increased revenue. Yes, the "one way" trips with logistics of travel were somewhat irksome for some, yet the "off season" running out of New Orleans was round trips, 4 day trips during the week from NOLA to Vicksburg and back and weekenders out of NOLA to the plantations and Baton Rouge. Warmer weather prevailed so cruising was better for the passengers. Lay up in New Orleans provided warmer weather (not warm, but warm-ER) and proximity to shipyards that could handle drydocking and major work, etc. Yes, ideas such as those "use the boat as a hotel for Super Bowl" were a disaster. On balance, though, it seems far better to me to have a later season in the fall months and an earlier start in the spring to take advantage of the increased revenue as well as the proximity to shipyards, etc.

                              The one-way trips during mid-season provided an opportunity for folks to cruise the Upper Mississippi without having to get on in Cincinnati and go all the way to St. Paul and not have to return to Cinci, a very long (and expensive) trip. Ditto for trips on the Lower, with trips starting in St. Louis, Cinci or Memphis going to NOLA without having to book a round trip out of Cinci. Of course, what was good for some was not so good for others.

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