I've recently run across a very few mentions of a cast iron bell that, some people claim, acts as both an anchor and a resonator, attached to the bottom of Steinway pianos, along with a single photo: http://www.shackellpianos.co.uk/imag...ll-casting.jpg A quick search on the internet reveals very little about this bell or bells--there may be more than one. A few people claim that , to some degree, the often mentioned "bell-like" timbre of some Steinways comes, to some extent, from the presence of these actual bells, minus a clanger, or course. Anyone know more about these? They appear to be small, so the resonance would be small. On the other hand, they appear to be attached to the cabinet, and thus would either absorb some of the vibrations or resonate. (I suspect that they may be designed to minimize cabinet resonance instead of acting as resonators themselves.) On the other hand, one side of me wants to believe that they do contribute to the sound.
Hate to respond to my own question, but I found a reference to this bell on the Steinway site, in a list of patented improvements. It's called the treble bell: http://www.steinway.com/technical/patents_2.shtml It appears to be just for bracing. (Some of the specs for some of the pianos mention that on smaller pianos, no bell is needed.)
Help! My mind is going bonkers trying to figure out how anyone who has played a real instrument could think that a piece of metal that isn't free to move because it's got a bolt at one end and two bolts holding it down at the other could resonate, simply because it is described as a "bell".
Transmission? Maybe. Resonance? Not a chance. The conical shape is just an easy and strong cast.