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Rostraver library donation rings a bell

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Rostraver Public Library President John Maisch, Mark Baker, and State Rep. R. Ted Harhai (D-Monessen) at the dedication for the bell at the Rostraver Public Library. SUBMITTED

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Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
 

Every time Mark Baker goes to the Rostraver Public Library he will see the Vanduzen Bell outside facility, it will bring back good memories.

“It will be a constant reminder of my mother and her strength,” Baker said. “And I can only hope to follow the same course of life.”

His mother, Mary Moodey of Charleroi, was a dedicated employee for more than 40 years at Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services Inc. in Monessen.

Mark Baker said he purchased the bell and displayed it in the yard of his Salem Church Road home in the township before moving recently to North Charleroi.

Baker chose to donate the bell to the Rostraver Public Library in memory of his mother.

“My neighbor was employed at the library so I thought it would be a good thing to do with the bell,” he said.

Baker said he spoke to the library board, which welcomed the donation.

A dedication ceremony was held recently at the library. The bell was placed in the island at the entrance of Rostraver Library.

The bell has historic roots.

Vanduzen and Tift manufactured cannons during the Civil War. After the war, the company switched to manufacturing bells.

E.W. Vanduzen was the successor to the G.W. Coffin Bell Foundry in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Coffin was known for making among the most ornamental bells in the country. But when Vanduzen took over the foundry, he discontinued the ornamentation and changed the bells' shape so they made a better tone.

Vanduzen was the first manufacturer of the rotary yoke bells, having manufactured and patented the design in 1866.

Vanduzen was one of the largest foundries in the country, producing thousands of bells each year.

The bell that Baker donated to the library was produced in 1875. Baker said he believes that “a library unites a community and the bell will commensurate this vision.”

Chris Buckley is a reporter for Trib Total Media.

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