Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Company

10 Bevin Court • East Hampton, CT • Middlesex County

Historical Significance

Bell making in East Hampton began in 1807 with the arrival of William Barton. He had a specialized knowledge of brass metallurgy and a process for making a specialized product. He is credited with inventing a one-piece, sand-mould casting process for brass bells which remained the basic method used by the industry for the rest of the century. The bell industry grew rapidly and by the Civil War it was well established. Twenty-three men were listed in the 1860 census as bell manufacturers and they owned one-third of the taxable wealth of the town.

Photo: View west showing remains of factory. (Tod Bryant)

Figure 1. Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Company, c. 1900.

Half of the work force in town was employed in the bell factories, both men and women. Many of the laborers were Irish immigrants. They began arriving in East Hampton around 1860 and were later to become a significant presence in the town.

William Bevin learned the art of bell making while working as indentured servant to William Barton when Barton lived and worked in Cairo, New York. Bevin agreed to the terms and tenure of the indenture under the condition that he could use the craft where and when he desired after he left. William Bevin returned to East Hampton, and with brother, Chauncey, continued to make bells, coffee mills, kettles, and cranes.

Another brother, Abner, who had also worked in the Barton shop, joined William and Chauncey and, in 1832, started the Bevin Brothers bell factory. A fourth brother Philo later joined the others and in 1868, Bevin Brothers was incorporated as the Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Company. The brothers made sleigh, hand, house, cow, sheep, door and ship bells. They made up to twenty different sizes of common sleigh bells of the globe, band or rim variety. Bevin Brothers were reported to make the first bicycle bells. The name Bevin is of Irish origin, but there is no record of the family having come from Ireland.

By the beginning of the twenty-first century, Bevin Brothers was the only surviving bell manufacturer in East Hampton and the oldest in the United States. Unfortunately, the factory was struck by lightning on the night of May 27, 2012 and it was completely destroyed by fire. The company's president, Mathew G. Bevin, vowed to continue the tradition of bell making in town and Bevin Brothers reopened in a nearby warehouse less than a year later. It is still in business in 2014.


Cunningham, Jan and John Herzan. Belltown Historic District, National Register of Historic Places nomination. 1985.

"How East Hampton Became "Bellown USA."

"Keep the bells in Belltown." Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Company.
[ view source ]

Notable Features of Building or Site

The factory was almost completely destroyed in the fire. Only a concrete pad and the shell of one brick building remain.

Interrelationship of Building and Surroundings

This industrial complex burned in 2012. The site on which it once stood is at the end of a short street and it is isolated from the surrounding neighborhood.

Additional Information

Date(s):  Built c.1860
Style(s):  Ruin
Historic Use:  Bell manufacturing
Present Use:  Ruin

Exterior visible from public road.

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