[Bell Historians] 'Pretty' steel bells

Carl S Zimmerman csz_stl at s...
Tue Sep 16 15:22:57 BST 2003

At 09:38 +0000 2003/09/16, Mike Chester asked:
>... would [Naylor-Vickers] steel bells have sounded good until they 
>rusted? (Probably quite a short time!)

Or possibly a very long time, depending on the climate of the 
neighborhood and the micro-climate of the belfry.

As I discovered last year, there is an 1860 octave of Naylor Vickers 
bells in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA (see 
http://www.gcna.org/data/PALANCTL.HTM). They are in excellent 
condition, showing no signs of significant rusting in spite of their 
age and the open belfry. All of the raised lettering is quite 
readable, and the fittings & octagonal timber chime frame appear to 
be original. I haven't discovered the maintenance history, but 
currently the bells are coated with some sort of thin oil-based 
preservative, which seems to be quite effective (and far better than 
the paint that is often applied to single steel bells). The "serial 
numbers" are all over the map, suggesting that this chime was not 
cast as a job lot, but rather was collected from single bells found 
to have the required pitches--a practice that at least one American 
bellfounder is known to have followed in producing chimes. The sound 
of these steel bells is no worse than the sound of that founder's 
bronze bells :-) and far better than a couple of other chimes I've 

=Carl Scott Zimmerman= Co-Webmaster: http://www.gcna.org/
Voicemail: +1-314-821-8437 (home) mailto:csz_stl at s...
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - 19th c. home of up to 33 bell foundries

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