Published weights

Giles Blundell GRBlundell at a...
Sun Jan 30 15:41:26 GMT 2005

From: "David Bryant" 

I don't think we reached a consensus on whether weights should still be accepted as valid if a cast in staple has been cut out and a central hole drilled. I rather think that the weight should revert to an estimate, as clearly this work is going to remove a measurable amount from the weight of the bell. Do others agree?

- I know I'm being pedantic, and I'm sure David spotted the point as soon as his email went up on the list, but if a 'measurable' (and therefore presumably measured) amount of metal is removed from a bell with a 'valid' weight, then we can still calculate an accurate weight for the bell. So at this point we will jave a calculated but accurate weight rather than an estimate.

Where this falls down though is over how accurate weights are in the first place. This list has provided anecdotal evidence of the weights quoted for bells depending on
- how accurately the bell was weighed in the first place
- what was included in the weighed mass (bell? Clapper? Headstock? Fittings? Foreman's sandwiches?)
- local belief/quality of record keeping over the weight
- founder's tradesmanship ('your tenor here at Little Point is at least a hundredweight bigger than Bloggs's bell at Great Effort')

Given the number of variants, it seems to me that any argument over a small proportion of a bell's weight - and 'small' in this context certainly means 5%, and maybe 10% or more - is doomed to futility. It's always nice to know in a Guinness Book of Records sort of way precisely how large a given bell is, but for most practical purposes (Warner bells are heavy for their note, or whatever), knowing the weight of a bell to the nearest half hundredweight is quite accurate enough. For any purpose more precise (retuning maybe) the bell is likely to be out of the tower and therefore (precisely) weighable.


Giles Blundell
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