Ship’s bells are a long standing naval tradition. They are used for signaling, keeping time, and sounding alarm. The measure of time originated in the days when a half-hour glass was used to tell off the four-hour watches. Each time the sand ran out, the ship’s boy, whose job it was to reverse the glass, struck a bell to show he was attending to his business. Thus, eight times he turned the glass, and eight times stuck the bell.
On the battleship the bell was primarily used to sound fog signals while the Ship was at anchor. The bell sounded to alert other ships entering and leaving the anchorage where NORTH CAROLINA was anchored.
Due to the Ship’s length, there were two bells: one for the bow end and one above Turret III for the stern (back of the Ship).