Restoring Old Fire Alarm Bell




I took an antique Sperti Faraday N276001 cast iron school fire alarm bell and rewired it to plug into an outlet with a big button on the front. This project requires basic electronics tools and an optional vinyl cutter for the label. This bell was built to be used in a high school engineering and entrepreneurship class as a "pivot" button, referring to a startup's shift in strategy.


  • Antique bell
  • Wire nuts
  • Old power cord
  • Big push button
  • Cardboard/plastic Box


  • Wire strippers
  • Soldering iron kit or electric tape
  • Duck tape
  • Screw driver


Step 1: Prepping the Bell

  1. Using a screwdriver, unscrew the cover of the bell electronics compartment.
  2. Cut the two wires coming out of the wire heads, giving yourself some extra wire.
  3. Strip the wires so that about 1/3" of metal is sticking out.

Step 2: Wiring

  1. Cut an old power cord (any power cord will work as long as it has two prongs) and giver yourself enough length so that the bell can plug into an outlet. [DO NOT PLUG THE WIRE INTO THE OUTLET UNTIL YOU'VE FINISHED THE PROJECT]
  2. Strip the wire of the cord you've just cut and leave 1/3" of metal sticking out.
  3. Solder or use electric tape to connect one wire to each of the leads of the push button.
  4. Feed the power curd through the bottom hole of the bell.
  5. Use three wire nuts to connect
    1. one lead coming out of the bell to one lead of the power cord
    2. the other lead coming out of the bell to the the push butt
    3. the other lead coming out of the push button to the other lead of the power cord

Step 3: Packaging

  1. Cut a hole in either a cardboard or plastic box big enough for the button to attach to.
  2. Attach the push button to the box.
  3. Connect push button switch to the push button.
  4. Duck tape the box to the bell.

Step 4: Screwing to the Wall

  1. Using plasterboard screws, screw the bell into the wall using the four holes in the corners.
  2. Optional: using a vinyl cutter, cut out a phrase to put on the big push button

Congratulations!!! You're done. Be aware that the bell makes a very loud sound.



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    2 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Cool! Nice work :)


    3 years ago

    I had a buddy that worked for the Chicago school system as a mechanic and he scored one of those from a school being torn down. Nice if you can find one of the old bronze ones and polish it up, makes a terrific d'art.