A tale of two bells


Washington company keeps Hillsboro bells ringing

By Juliane Cartaino - For The Times-Gazette



The historic C.S. Bell Company bell that stands in front of the Highland House on East Main Street in Hillsboro is, “one of the largest that was produced locally,” according to John Glaze, of the Highland County Historical Society. Damage was done to the wheel in a recent automobile collision, but the bell itself was not damaged.

The historic C.S. Bell Company bell that stands in front of the Highland House on East Main Street in Hillsboro is, “one of the largest that was produced locally,” according to John Glaze, of the Highland County Historical Society. Damage was done to the wheel in a recent automobile collision, but the bell itself was not damaged.


Juliane Cartaino | For The Times-Gazette

A commemorative bell manufactured by Prindle Station Bells in Washington state, stands in front of the log cabin behind the Highland House. The bell was presented to the historical society on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, according to John Glaze of the Highland County Historical Society, for whom the bell has a personalized inscription.


Juliane Cartaino | For The Times-Gazette

From the annual Festival of The Bells to Bell’s Opera House to several recently commissioned commemorative murals in Hillsboro, the nominal and historical legacy of the C.S. Bell Company still pervades, but so, too, do the bells themselves.

One such bell was involved in a collision on the evening of Nov. 12, in which a motorist fleeing officers from the Hillsboro Police Department crashed into the historic bell in front of the Highland House on East Main Street. after having struck multiple vehicles.

John Glaze of the Highland Country Historical Society said that, “the bell itself was not damaged. The wheel suffered the most damage but can be replaced. The hitching post was broken off but I imagine it can be replaced.”

Glaze said that, “This bell is one of the largest ever produced locally.”

While the C.S. Bell Company ceased production in Hillsboro years ago, some people might not realize that the bells are still being domestically manufactured to this day, utilizing the original patterns developed in 1886.

Sandra Wilson of Prindle Station Bells in Washington state said that after the C.S. Bell Company stopped making bells completely, her engineer husband, Peter Wilson, who has since passed away, had made a business trip during which he acquired a small bell and farm bell patterns. She said, “The patents were residing at the opera house in Tiffin, Ohio (while) the rest of the patents remained at the opera house.”

Wilson’s fortuitous acquisition turned into the catalyst that inspired the resurrection of the manufacture of the bells.

“We brought them back to where we were living in Washington,” Wilson said. Determined to make the then-dormant bells ring again, “We’ve been selling them on the Internet, using those original 1886 patterns.”

The Wilsons’ commitment to the integrity of the original design is evident amongst their Prindle Station Bells website offerings, which are faithful recreations of various types of farm and school bells that were so popular at the time, but people not only still have uses for new bells, but the need or desire to refurbish existing ones.

To that end, Wilson said, “by using the original patterns, we can manufacture and sell replacement parts,” for bells that people already have.

“Ohio’s our best customer,” she said.

“The only change we’ve made to the original patterns,” Wilson explained, is that, “We created a customized bell so we could hand place letters and numbers around the bell so it’s poured with a message around the bell.”

One such bell, bearing an inscription personalized as a present to the Highland County Historical Society, was presented to it on the occasion of its 50th anniversary by Prindle Station Bells, according to Glaze.

Wilson said not only is the preservation of the legacy and historical provenance of the C.S. Bell Company important in the continued manufacturing of the bells, but that it is important to her that they are American made. Recognition of the enduring manufacturing process is something that she said they take very seriously.

“None of the patterns are being used of all those bell companies from back in the day,”, an undeniable reminder of the dissolution of domestic production of bells that once thrived in places like Hillsboro, she said. “They’re all gone. We’re the only ones.”

Juliane Cartaino is a stringer for The Times-Gazette.

The historic C.S. Bell Company bell that stands in front of the Highland House on East Main Street in Hillsboro is, “one of the largest that was produced locally,” according to John Glaze, of the Highland County Historical Society. Damage was done to the wheel in a recent automobile collision, but the bell itself was not damaged.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2022/11/web1_Bell-pic-1.jpgThe historic C.S. Bell Company bell that stands in front of the Highland House on East Main Street in Hillsboro is, “one of the largest that was produced locally,” according to John Glaze, of the Highland County Historical Society. Damage was done to the wheel in a recent automobile collision, but the bell itself was not damaged. Juliane Cartaino | For The Times-Gazette

A commemorative bell manufactured by Prindle Station Bells in Washington state, stands in front of the log cabin behind the Highland House. The bell was presented to the historical society on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, according to John Glaze of the Highland County Historical Society, for whom the bell has a personalized inscription.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2022/11/web1_Bell-pic-2.jpgA commemorative bell manufactured by Prindle Station Bells in Washington state, stands in front of the log cabin behind the Highland House. The bell was presented to the historical society on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, according to John Glaze of the Highland County Historical Society, for whom the bell has a personalized inscription. Juliane Cartaino | For The Times-Gazette
Washington company keeps Hillsboro bells ringing

By Juliane Cartaino

For The Times-Gazette