[Bell Historians] Flat-topped bells

Mr J Greenhough j.greenhough at w...
Tue Feb 12 13:53:53 GMT 2002

well, of course there's James Harrison of Barton: loads of flat-tops
dating back to early 1800s.

On Tue, 12 Feb 2002, David Bryant wrote:

> I'm looking for early examples of flat topped bells (i.e. those cast
> without canons). In happened on vatious occasions as a result of metal
> running short or the canons being defective (e.g. Exeter Cathedral 9th),
> but I'm looking for the earliest bells deliberately cast flat-topped.
> Jennings, in his history of the Taylor foundry, states that a
> flat-topped Taylor bell was exhibited at the Great Exhibition. The two
> bells exhibited are now at Scarborough, and in the York Minster SCR
> archives we have a picture of the tenor being removed prior to its last
> rehang - and it has canons. It is of course possible that the other bell
> (3/10) had a flat top, but it seems more likely that if either did it
> would be the larger one - anyone any further info on these bells?
> The earliest authenticated example I have is the 1852 Taylor tenor at
> Leighton, Powys, which John Eisel tells me was cast flat-topped. In the
> 1860s-80s Taylor's freqently cast the two tenors of a ring flat-topped,
> with the rest having canons (St Paul's have canons on 1-8, flat tops on
> 9-12). They continued this until the early 1890s, when they began
> casting all bells flat topped, probably as a result of the introduction
> of the cast iron headstock.
> I'm currently researhcing for an article on the development and ultimate
> demise of canons and their various derivatives (button top, Doncaster
> Head, etc) - I'll stick a draft on my website when it reaches a
> reasonably complete stage.
> David
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