Re (2): [Bell Historians] True-harmonic twelves &c

David Bryant djb122 at y...
Fri Feb 22 12:24:14 GMT 2002

Wells tenor is 1877. It was shortly after this that Taylor's seem to
have gone away from Grimthorpe's ideas - e.g. their defiance of his
instructions for St Paul's in the following year.


s.ivin at n... wrote:
> Chris Pickford writes:
> > 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)
> David Bryant writes:
> > I predict that Bill's going to disagree vehemently with you on this
> one Chris!
> For what it is worth, I think Chris is on the right lines. The really
> crucial
> stage was reached when it was realised that the fundamental could be
> sharpened
> by thickening the crown and the shoulder corner. Then of course it was
> necessary
> to acquire machinery to get it tuned correctly - the long-reach lathe
> must have
> been a colossal investment in 1896. (In passing, I'm not sure that
> 'the baronet'
> had much to do with the scene in the 1890's, but certainly without his
> earlier
> patronage Taylors would have been insufficiently strong financially to
> develop as
> they did. Anyway - just consider Wells tenor 1887 which at 57cwt in C
> is not far
> removed from the 50cwt in D (?D flat) of the old Worcester peal, and
> is I think a
> pretty good sound.)
> Chris quotes St Peter vs St Paul in Bedford. An even better comparison
> is Dunstable
> in early 1896, and Bedford (St Paul) in autumn. The two tenors are
> characterised by
> quite sharp fundamentals - nearly a whole tone - and slightly sharp
> hums - about
> half a semitone. The only tuning on the Bedford tenor was half-cwt
> removed from the
> crown. Ampthill & Cardington were installed in Beds. over the
> following year or two
> and both have one or two bells with significantly flat fundamentals,
> as do the
> 9th & 10th at Bedford.
> Perhaps equally crucial was the acquisition of a set of Koenig forks
> in the 1890's.
> The curious thing is how they managed to do one or two true harmonic
> tenors before
> this time - e.g. Leafield, Oxon and Tamworth, which had v. little
> tuning when the
> rest were recast in the 30's. The job book records show absolutely no
> contemporary
> interest in them!
> I seem to remember Paul Taylor telling me that the real eye-opener was
> when his
> father (?grandfather) found evidence of the Hemony tuning in the
> crown, in bells
> they inspected in th Netherlands. In addition
> to this the Taylor profile (adopted as standard probably when Denison
> Taylor
> took over, and not subsequently much changed) is strikingly similar to
> the
> Hemony profile shown in Lehr's 'Art of the Carillon in the Low
> Countries'. It
> was of course the Hemonys who first laid down and achieved the true
> tuning of
> harmonics as long ago as the mid-1600's. I have got quite a few
> recordings, some of
> which have not been in the hands of the restorers, and although the
> timbre and
> tone is a bit variable the accuracy of the tuning is pretty well
> spot-on. On the other
> hand Simpson gives quite erroneous details of how to tune the
> partials. However
> his name provided a useful hook for Gillets in particular, who could I
> suppose
> hardly refer to Taylor true-harmonic. His name was also useful when
> sundry folk
> wanted to talk about the 'Simpson howl', which was I suspect a useful
> code to use
> when refering to G&J, since I don't think anyone in e.g. 1926 ever
> wanted to use
> that term in reference to Taylors.
> Newport Pagnell and South Croydon are pretty accurate in respect of
> the 5 partials,
> but certainly I agree about the timbre.
> Stephen Ivin
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