Warners' tuning machine, 1911 onwards

Susan Dalton dalton.family at v...
Sun Nov 9 15:08:01 GMT 2003

Reverting to a topic discussed by Bill Hibbert, Matthew Higby, Nigel Taylor
and others on this list several months ago, I find that John Warner & Sons
in their "Simpson"-tuning era from 1911 onwards could and did tune bells in
the shoulder/crown. And it does seem that Kings Somborne tenor (Warner
1911) was one of them.

At Bredon (old bells, retuned by Warner in 1914) Chris Pickford reminds me
that some of the bells were machine-tuned in the shoulder, but not the tenor
despite its sharp fundamental/prime tone.

My notes on Somerton (Somerset) indicate that the 7th and tenor (both Warner
bells of 1914) were both machine-tuned from soundbow to top of waist but NOT
in the shoulder; yet in both bells the fundamental-prime tone is actually a
WHOLE-TONE or more sharp in relation to the nominal and hum.

So one wonders to what extent Warners understood what they were doing.
There are various possibilities -
1. They did not know where to cut a bell to flatten the fundamental/prime
2. Their bells, or the old bells they were trying to retune, were of such
a design that if cut in the appropriate place they would fall to pieces (in
the way that Johnston's bells at Banstead and Oakham did)
3. They actually liked sharp fundamentals in big bells.
I slightly doubt the last, as the 30-cwt. bell of 1912 in the Lansdowne
clock tower in Bournemouth is near enough true-harmonic as cast, not having
had any tuning at all.

Has anybody got details of cutting in bells at, e.g., Daresbury, Christ
Church Erith, Chelmsford Cathedral?


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