Clapper springs

Carl S Zimmerman csz_stl at s...
Tue Nov 18 02:50:52 GMT 2003

In this week's RW (p.1095), "From the Archives" quotes a report on 
the 1903 opening of a major rehanging at Isleworth, Middx, in which I 
found the following surprising sentence: "They have also been fitted 
with the 'Hesse' spring clapper, ..." That surprised me because in 
all the photos I have seen of bells "up" in the belfry, I've never 
seen any sign of clapper springs. So this innovation must have been 
a rather short-lived phenomenon, either because it failed to live up 
to the great claims made for it or because ringers of the day were 
too conservative to adopt it.

On the other hand, the use of clapper springs was very widespread in 
the USA on free-swinging single bells and small peals (2 to 6 bells) 
after the middle of the 19th century. There must be almost as many 
US designs for clapper springs as there are US patents for rotary 
mountings. (Modern bell hangers seem to have forgotted both 
concepts, apparently thinking that their motor-driven stuff doesn't 
need it. But from my previous residence I could hear a Catholic 
church's modern bell ring after the Angelus as "ding-bounce, 
dong-bounce, ..." as the motor over-pulled at every stroke!)

So my questions to you all are two:
1) Are there any surviving installations where bells hung for change 
ringing have clapper springs?
2) What actually stopped their being used more widely?


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