[Bell Historians] True-harmonic twelves

Chris Pickford c.j.pickford at t...
Fri Feb 22 09:19:41 GMT 2002

Yes, I'm new to the list so I missed the earlier correspondence on this. But
I would have disagreed quite strongly with the view that Taylors moved
towards true-harmonic tuning over a lengthy period. I think that they got
to true-harmonic in one step, but then perfected the tonal quality (separate
things). Gilletts did take time

In the case of Taylors - who had been producing near true-harmonic bells in
the 1850s before being led astray by Grimthorpe! - the transformation was
almost overnight, in the middle of 1896. The contrast between Taylor bells
of 1894/5 and 1896/7 is amazing, and while there are imperfections they more
or less got it right straight away. Heavitree, Dublin, Werrington, Norton
etc - and the mixed-date ring at St.Paul's Bedford - are all strikingly
good, and definitely true-harmonic even if the sound differs in character
from what they were producing by (say) 1905. I'm particularly fond of the
slightly later rings - Middleham, St.Keverne, Portsmouth.

The difference between pre- and post- "discovery" tuining is nowhere better
illustrated than at opposite ends of Bedford High Street, with St.Peter's
(back six of 1894) being pre- and St.Paul's (back ten with four of 1896 and
five of 1897) being post-.

Gilletts started in 1907 (at Elstree), but as late as 1911/12 they were
still groping towards even getting the tuning absolutely right - a much
slower transition. However lovely the wheezy sound at Newport Pagnell,
Wolverhampton and Croydon St.Peter etc, it ain't quite true-harmonic. Even
the 1921 replacement ring at Heywood (rather over-rated in my view) isn't
quite right, and it wasn't really until the early to mid 20s that Gilletts
perfected the art.

There's lots of correspondence on all of this in the RW over the years, but
I can't easily point to chapter and verse. What's interesting is that we'll
never all agree - it's all about shades of good, and personal preference.
We all too easily forget that "getting the numbers right" doesn't
necessarily give a good sound


----- Original Message -----
From: "oakcroft13" <bill at h...>
To: <bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2002 4:56 PM
Subject: [Bell Historians] True-harmonic twelves

> Chris Pickford:
> > . . Wolverhampton . . first true-harmonic twelve
> I said this before on this list, but lots of people have joined
> since. Based on the evidence only of the sound of their bells,
> Taylors and Gilletts moved slowly into true-harmonic tuning over a
> period of years or even decades. There was not one instant in time
> when everything changed. I'm off to record a peal of bells tomorrow
> night which should fill a gap in the sequence for Taylors (1887, I
> suspect they had barely started then).
> Is there evidence in the written records for some dramatic change in
> approach?
> Michael Wilby:
> > . . arson . .
> Put that box of matches away until I've turned my tape recorder off.
> Bill H
> This message was sent to you via the Bell Historians' Mailing List. To
unsubscribe from the list send an email to
bellhistorians-unsubscribe at yahoogroups.com
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

More information about the Bell-historians mailing list