[Bell Historians] St Peter's Italian Church

Chris Pickford c.j.pickford at t...
Sun Sep 29 22:37:14 BST 2002

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The Tyssen rubbings aren't dated, but they are all of c.1865-1875 so far as=
I can tell. The bell would have been fairly new when the rubbing was made

----- Original Message -----=20
From: Carl S Zimmerman=20
To: Bell Historians List=20
Sent: Saturday, September 28, 2002 4:01 PM
Subject: Re: [Bell Historians] St Peter's Italian Church

At 23:08 +0000 on 2002/09/27, Bill Hibbert wrote:

>Basic details: 228.5cm in diameter (about 7'6"), nominal 395.6 Hz (G
>+15). Inscription unfortunately pretty much unreadable.

Chris Pickford supplied the details of the now-unreadable inscription=20
from "Rubbings in Tyssen Collection, Society of Antiquaries".=20
Unfortunately that wasn't accompanied by any indication of when the=20
rubbing was taken, otherwise we might be able to estimate how long it=20
took for the inscription to corrode into unreadability.

While steel bells are certainly much more subject to corrosion than=20
bronze bells are, the rate and degree of corrosion are highly=20
variable. The 1860 octave of Naylor Vickers bells which I discovered=20
earlier this year in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, are in excellent=20
condition, as are three huge bells here in St.Louis that were cast in=20
1911 by the Bochumer Stahlverein of Germany. (Other names for that=20
firm are known.)

At 10:09 +0100 on 2002/09/28, jim phillips asked:

>... would a coat of anti corrosion paint affect the bell tone?

Most American steel bells sound so horrible that nothing could make=20
them worse. While they weren't painted originally (as far as I can=20
determine), many of the surviving ones have been painted. (Sometimes=20
the result is visually horrible, too!) I've not been able to hear=20
that such paint makes a detectable difference to the sound, but=20
that's not to say that proper instrumentation couldn't detect some=20
differences, particularly if the paint were thickly applied.

The 48-bell Eijsbouts carillon installed a year ago in Springfield,=20
Missouri, appears to have had its bells sprayed at the foundry with=20
an extremely thin paint in a pale bronze color. Possibly this was=20
for visual effect, since the bells are highly visible from the=20
ground. Certainly it does not detract at all from the sound, which=20
is very fine.

However, there is an alternative to paint as an anti-corrosion=20
treatment. For some years, I've occasionally heard mention of an=20
oil-based treatment to protect bronze bells (though I've not yet seen=20
it in place). The Lancaster steel bells mentioned above have=20
certainly been treated with such a substance; I was told that this=20
was done when Schulmerich replaced the chime transmission a few years=20
ago. While it does give the bells a dark and slightly damp=20
appearance, it does not drip, and apparently is not at all volatile.=20
It doesn't obscure the inscriptions at all, though it remains to be=20
seen whether it will eventually collect enough dirt (a la vehicle=20
motors) to do that.

If someone is concerned about preservation of St.Peter's great steel=20
bell from further corrosion, I would strongly encourage investigation=20
of possibilities along this line.

Carl Scott Zimmerman, CCP <XNS-Name:=3DCarl Scott=20
Certified Computing Professional (ICCP) Campanologist
Co-Webmaster: http://www.gcna.org/
Avocation: tower bells / Recreation: handbells / Mission: church bells
Voicemail: +1-314-361-5194 (home) E-mail: csz_stl at s...
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - - 19th c. home of at least 33 bell
. . . . . . . . . . . . . foundries or resellers

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