Mr. Albert Baines from Baines Machine and Repair is
refurbishing the 100 year old brass bell from the only horse drawn ambulance in
Ontario. It has been at least 90 years since this 17 pound, foot operated bell
was heard ringing through the streets of Petrolia on the way to a medical
emergency in a home or in the oil fields. Albert speculates that the bell rang
for less than a combined total of 24 hours in the last 100 years and doesn't
foresee any problems other than a good cleaning and some lubrication. "If only
this could talk, imagine the stories that it could tell", comments Albert as he
brushes aside a century of oily dirt and bits of straw from the interior of the
The bell is normally mounted on the floor by the driver's foot. The driver pushes the metal post which rotates the flywheel that you can see exposed in this photo. With every rotation, the flywheel sounds on the bell and could undoubtedly be heard for blocks.
Comments on the Bell
Your ambulance bell appears similar to the "foot gongs" described on our website, although your bell is much heavier in construction. It also looks to me like the sounding mechanism of your bell is designed differently than the usual foot gong.
I think your ambulance restoration project is really neat! So many of those old service vehicles have been lost over the years, so it is nice to see your ambulance will be preserved for another century.
Best wishes on your project....
Classic Bells Ltd.
669 Woodchuck Drive, Postville, Iowa 52162, USA http://classicbells.com/
Lori and Dan hoist the 17 lb. bell after it's refurbishing.
Hear the Bell