Unusual Period Tower Bell Restored to Original Ringing Format.

Unusual, historic bronze bell, old style. Brought from France.

Unusual, historic bronze bell, old style. Brought from France.

Carl Rickershauser of Coastal Clock and Chime in Cinnaminson, NJ restored this historic and unusual (cast in France) bronze bell in the tower of the Visitation Church in Washington, DC. Older bells were often mounted in a non-factory timber frame carriage, built into the structure, with less precision than could be achieved in factory mounted installations. Timbered supports, if sound, can perform good service since the metal bearings tend to work into the wood under the weight of the bell, accurately aligning themselves to the axles. If necessary, a bell can be rehung in a new structural steel frame, but that was not necessary in this case.

Original bell to yoke shackles. Note ineffective attempts to stabilize this connection by inserting nails, debris.

Original bell to yoke shackles. Note ineffective attempts to stabilize this connection by inserting nails, debris.

If the yoke is wooden rather than iron or steel, look for compression or rot of the yoke itself to be a contributing factor in the loss of a stable, positive connection. This can cause an alarming degree of “chucking”, as the bell shifts in the yoke as it is rung. New steel shackles were furnished, in this case, in order to give the connection the full range of positive, tight compression.

 

 

New tight shackles.

New tight shackles.

Carl Rickershauser is a Member of the Guild of Building Artisans.

List of Bell Restoration Specialists.

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