Steel Bells

oakcroft13 bill at h...
Thu Mar 28 11:35:28 GMT 2002

Bit late with this, but I've been away for a day (working and 
recording bells).

I have only analysed one peal of steel bells so far: Chalford in 
Gloucestershire. These have the typical Naylor-Vickers sound, on 
analysis this proved to be due to wild nominals, and very sharp 
primes and hums. As you would expect from their date, the bells were 
produced in ignorance of any of the tuning principles we now 
understand. Whether corrosion has affected their tuning I wouldn't 
like to say.

I came to the conclusion that provided the problem of lack of 
resonance was solved with clapper lifters or whatever, a peal of 
steel bells tuned true-harmonic would sound OK. However, there would 
be lots of work in finding profiles to make this tuning possible. I 
can imagine that due to the different qualities of the material, 
using bronze profiles would not give the right results. The tuning 
errors at Chalford were so large that I would be surprised if they 
could be corrected by normal tuning.

As regards rust, didn't I read in the comic years ago - perhaps when 
Bootle were being moved to Hale - that spraying steel bells with 
Waxoyl (car underseal) stopped them rusting and didn't make them 
sound any worse.

Bill H

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