Warner's & harmonic tuning

David Cawley dcawley at w...
Wed Jun 23 15:30:19 BST 2004

Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Richard asked for the pitches of Mangotsfield, Warners 1920, replaced by a =
new ring by Taylors 1992, so here goes:

Treble: 1760; 1335; 1050; 825; 441
2nd: 1650; 1241; 992; 750; 419
3rd 1488; 1113; 878; 715; 367
4th 1321; 976; 787; 640; 326
5th 1175; 886; 700; 580; 298
6th 1075; 825; 648; 555; 276
7th 988; 727; 595; 495; 256
Tenor 884; 650; 530; 425; 229

The nominals were fairly well in line, excepting the 6th, which were half a=
semitone flat:
The fundamentals were flat except on the 6th and 7th; the trebles being con=
spicuously so:
The hums were flat, except on the 3rd and 4th which were a little sharp.

The arrangement of the octave notes (nominal, fundamental, hum) was thus

Treble: A G#-0.12 A+0.04 23.5/8" 3-1-27
2nd: G#-0.12 F#+0.23 G#+0.15 24.3/4" 3-2-12
3rd F#+0.09 F+0.39 F#-0.15 25.1/2" 3-3-23
4th E+0.03 D#+0.48 E-0.2 26.3/4" 4-0-18
5th D D-0.22 D+0.25 28.3/4" 5-0-16=
6th C#-0.54 C#-0.02 C#-0.08 30" 5-3-4
7th B B+0.03 C-0.38 32.7/8" 7-0-0
Tenor A+0.08 G#+0.39 A#-0.31 35.5/8" 10-0-6

The nominals were all checked by Alan Hughes in the tower, and were all fou=
nd to be correct or within 1 or 2 Hz at the most. The weights are those rec=
orded by Taylors when they broke the bells up; the front six only marginall=
y heavy for their diameters but the 7th and particularly the tenor very muc=
h more so.

The profiles varied; the tenor was a strange-looking bell, almost tub-shape=
d, with a fat waist and only a slight soundbow projection. This appeared to=
have been necessary to get it in. All the bells had been machined full he=
ight, the trebles viciously so up in their crowns with predictable results.=
Quite why the 6th nominal was so flat was not clear, especially as the fun=
damental and hum were closer to their intended pitches than most of the oth=

Tonally, the 5th and 7th were very fair and the 3rd and 4th fair. The two t=
rebles sounded horrible; the sixth was 'sour' according to my notes and the=
tenor 'curious'. This, however, is a subjective assessment.

Both foundries were prepared to attempt to tune the bells, one more relucta=
ntly so than the other. Both warned that the tuned ring would in no way com=
pare in quality with a new one. They also said that a 3 ft tenor with a rep=
uted weight of 10-cwt (which both doubted, but was in fact the case) was a =
little on the large side for this tower (frames set diagonally; 2,3, and 7 =
above). Both also quoted for rings with tenors of 2' 10", 2' 8" and 2' 7".

I was (a) looking after the parish and (b) Diocesan bells adviser and from =
the parish point of view, I knew that they wanted eight bells they could ri=
ng (the back three were by that time unsafe) and which sounded pleasant - a=
nd which were not a local joke, not just among ringers. At the same time th=
ere remained the fact that this was the last ring of eight which Warner's c=
ast, and therefore of interest and that a job could be achieved on them in =
terms of ringability at considerably less expense than purchasing a new rin=
g of bells.=20

I considered that it would be necessary to recast the two trebles in any ca=
se; they were very thin in the crown and heavy down below; and there would =
be problems if it was proposed to lower the nominals of the rest to cope wi=
th the sixth. On the other hand, if that bell was recast, there would be le=
ss cutting to do on the rest. From its shape (see the photo accompanying my=
article in the Comic, 10.12.93, p.1210) I felt that the tenor was in any c=
ase an unpredictable item. If any of these bells were recast, the integrity=
of the last Warner eight would be compromised. I knew also that some would=
be disappointed with the loss of such a ring and its replacement with a li=
ghter one. But that was the advice I gave, and I have to say that the paris=
h and the ringers in Brsitol and locally, and I myself were very pleased in=
deed with the result.

I am sorry that CD doesn't think much of the new bells; and of course there=
is an element of regret that the old ones had to go, just as there had bee=
n, so I am told, some element of regret when they replaced an historic ring=
of six.
That came in a private letter written by John Jefferies, the tower master u=
nder whom the 1920 work was done, and includes these words: "They have gone=
in very well, and ring very nicely, but the bells themselves I am disguste=
d with".

One of the problems we sometimes encounter is that of metal content. Certai=
nly the Mangotsfield bells were extraordinarily difficult to break up - and=
, like most of Warner' products, they were very good castings in themselves=
. The metal had to be sent away for analysis. As ADH put it, "I don't quite=
know what they used by way of bellmetal, but it certainly isn't our usual =
spec.....suffice it to say that the bells were more inclined to bend than b=
reak" ! I feel that this unknown factor - and it is easy to be wise after =
the event - justified the course taken.

But it is good to hear of the satisfactory outcome of the restoration of Br=
oad Blunsdon. That project was started when I was still the Bristol Diocesa=
n Bells Adviser, and I've just looked up my notes and find that I did in th=
at case recommend tuning the bells. They were of course cast in 1913, not 1=
920, and those seven years in the case of Warner's, made all the difference=

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.ringingworld.co.uk/pipermail/bell-historians/attachments/20040623/07f8b4b7/attachment.html>

More information about the Bell-historians mailing list