Dating brass bells Free 2 way cam site
The smooth EMD bells all have an appealing, traditional shape to them, and they will also have a relatively sharp shoulder.
This produces what is often called the "flat top" profile, although the top is usually not actually flat, but runs very slightly "downhill" the shoulder may vary a bit in radius, but the basic proportions are held across production.
Although they may appear to be polished, closer examination of these bells will exhibit indications of fine grinding.
If a bell actually does have a very high or mirror polish, be advised that it has probably been polished by a motivated individual after removal from service, not by EMD or a common carrier.
Many of these bells and their associated fittings have been mistakenly or deliberately confused with steam-era bells, and the bulk of the following information was originally assembled to help discourage erroneous identification.
I am not suggesting that 12" diameter steam locomotive bells do not exist, because they do; they were, however, relatively uncommon except on narrow-gauge or small industrial locomotives, and were considered somewhat undersized in contemporary practice.
Most locomotive bells offered to collectors in North America are from diesel-electric locomotives produced by what until 2005 was known as the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors Corporation, commonly referred to as "EMD." General Motors Diesel, Ltd.