The Bell from La Verdad

Today we have a guest post by Thomas Cox from Maine, USA

The Bell from La Verdad. Photo: Thomas Cox
The Bell from La Verdad. Photo: Thomas Cox

Being a lifelong ocean sailor, some years ago I was intrigued when I found the ships bell from La Verdad for sale in a marine antique store. I bought it. In searching for some history about the Verdad, I came to realize that the vessel was built in La Palma in 1873 and has quite a history. There appears to be e considerable historic pride in La Verdad according to documents that I find on the Internet.

The vessel was wrecked on reefs at Bermuda on January 12, 1899, while en route to La Palma from Cuba. Apparently the water was shallow enough that the crew was able to escape. Apparently also, the shallow water enabled someone to salvage the vessel’s bell. How it made its way to the United States, I do not know. I do know that Bermuda is a popular destination for US ocean racing sailors, having raced there myself, and suspect that some US sailor found the bell for sale in Bermuda and brought it here.

I can see no reason not to believe that the bell is not indeed the original one, as I can see no reason for someone to fabricate a fake. The engraving of the name and date is clearly hand done and the patina on the bronze as well as some signs of wear and tear suggest that it indeed has been used, but still well cared for.

The bell and stand for it must weight together more than fifty pounds. The bell alone measures about ten inches tall by about twelve inches wide. From the bottom of the stand to the top measures about 14 inches. It is apparent to me that there is some sort of decorative fixture missing from the top of the bell stand as there is a threaded hole there.


Thomas Cox

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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