Lord Grimthorpe and thick bells

oakcroft13 bill at h...
Fri Jun 28 22:59:34 BST 2002

David Cawley makes some interesting observations on the thick designs 
of Lord Grimthorpe. I'm about to make an obvious point, but no-one 
has made it yet, so here goes.

A dominant characteristic of 19th century bells which are either over 
or underweight compared with the norm is that they are not true-
harmonic. Bells I have looked at which are excessively thin or thick 
usually have partials all over the place and as a result have a most 
unfortunate sound. This can be seen time and time again just between 
the trebles and tenors of 19th century peals.

I have not analysed any ringing bells with Grimthorpe profiles (I 
guess I should go to Mirfield) but feel fairly safe in assuming what 
I would find.

The skill which Taylors and Gillets and finally Whitechapel learned, 
was to cast bells to different profiles and thicknesses while keeping 
them true-harmonic. (As an aside, because Continental founders never 
had the problem of having to produce heavy trebles to ring with 
tenors, they never had this problem in the first place).

When the founders produce true-harmonic bells with different 
profiles, there is still a difference in the sound - thin bells 
produce a sound I call the 'tin-can' effect. However, because the 
bells are true harmonic we tend not to complain, and perhaps some 
people even prefer it.

Bill H

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