[Bell Historians] Riverside / Chicago (was Oakham G&J)

David Cawley dcawley at w...
Sat Jun 12 15:57:53 BST 2004

Don't have the Riverside figures to hand, but Chicago University were being cast at the same time. Again 72 bells, this carillon in C#. The particulars of the largest are:
Bourdon: 117" diameter; soundbow 8.3/4" reduced to 8.11/16"
Cast weight 18tons-5cwt-2qr-23lb; despatched 16tons-10cwt-1qr-2lb; tunings 36-0-1.
Note that if you add 36-0-1 to 330-1-2 you get 366-1-3, which is 2qr 8lb more than the cast weight; hence the need to treat tuning figures with caution!
The five lowest principal partials are:
As cast: 79; 152; 184; 234; 305
As tuned: 68.5; 137; 162.25; 205.5; 273.5

By comparison, the smallest bell of the carillon is 5 5/16" diameter, soundbow 1 1/8" reduced to 1/16"; cast weight 12 lb, tuned 11 1/2-lb. "Strike" note only recorded, 4604 as cast, 4422 as tuned.

There was a great deal of trial and rejection - for example, bell no. 20 (F#, 7 3/8", 11.3 lb) , is the fifth of eight recorded castings; the eighth casting went to Houndsditch Warehouse (7 3/8", 10.5 lb) along with the third casting of no.18, Unfortunately, only the hum and 'strike' of the bell which was actually sent to Chicago are recorded, whilst all the particulars are there of the Houndsditch bell. The other six castings were presumably put back in the pot.

The following bells, cast for Chicago, were actually sent to Riverside or cast for Riverside:
No. 3: Cast for Riverside 2/72, 5 5/16", B, 10 1/2lb, 3935 Hz 
No. 3 (4th casting): Sent to Riverside. 5 15/16", tuned to D#, 12lb (cast), replaced by van Bergen and then Whitechapel.
No.8: (2nd casting) Sent to Riverside. 6 11/16", tuned to G#, 13 lb (cast). The 4th casting (over an inch smaller and tuned to F#) was kept for Chicago. The bell sent to Riverside subsequently replaced by vB and WBF.
No.12: Sent to Riverside. Cast for Chicago 7/2/1930. 7 3/8", tuned to E, 18 lb (cast). A replacement bell was cast for Chicago in October 1931 (again over an inch smaller and tuned to D). The Riverside bell subsequently twice replaced.
No.16: Sent to Riverside. 6 1/2", A#, 12 lb (cast)(19/2/30). 2nd casting 6 11/16", A#,. 14 lb cast. 10 lb tuned, kept for Chicago.

Chicago no.3 (70 in carillon notation) appears thus to be the only survivor of the top octaves which were added on to the Park Avenue instrument when it was topped and tailed and moved to Riverside Drive. It never got there! 

This even happened with quite large bells: for example, No. 55, G in the second octave is the third cast; 42 3/16", soundbow opened 1/16", 15-3-17 cast, 14-2-11 finished (1-0-22 tunings recorded). The first cast is at Ballarena; 43", soundbow opened 1/2", 17-0-26 cast, 14-3-0 finished and tuned down to F (2-1-16 tunings recorded); nothing on the 2nd cast - an expensive scrapper ? At Limerick you will find (where?) the 60th, 56" diameter, soundbow opened 5/16", 36-2-9 cast, 31-1-19 finished and tuned down to C# (6-2-17 tunings recorded). It was the first casting; there is nothing on the second, and the third, the bell actually sent to Chicago, is also 56" diameter, soundbow opened 3/16", 37-0-19 cast, 32-3-12 finished and tuned to D (3-3-27 tunings recorded). An octave above the bass bell, no. 61, 41-3-25 in C#, originally intended for Providence, R.I. 

All this comes from Jim Hedgcock saying that he couldn't lay his hand on the Riverside figures; neither can I. The late Jim Lawson told me that Chicago is a far better instrument (not least because of the tower, and not having had 3/4 of its bells replaced by van Bergen). As I had the data to hand, it seemed worth sharing for anyone who is interested.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: jimhedgcock 
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com 
Sent: Saturday, June 12, 2004 7:32 AM
Subject: [Bell Historians] Re: Oakham and Pythagorean tuning

--- I remember reading somewhere that the Riverside bass bell was 
WELL over 20 tons at casting, can't remember thr figures but it was 
in the region of 23, and was tuned to @ 18.25 tons.

> G & J were certainly not afraid to remove metal from their new 
> however. Looking at the tuning figures for Bromley, which Dickon 
> has recently extracted from the Gillett records in Croydon Library, 
> noticed that the tenor had over 3 cwt of metal taken out of it 
> the tuning process - an amount you might expect from tuning a 3 or 
> tonner, but not a 15 cwt bell! For all that, it ended up as a 
> fine and well tuned (including upper partials) bell however!
> Richard

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