[Bell Historians] Canon removal and faculties

. itsabubble at ...
Fri Nov 4 21:05:50 GMT 2005

>I can think of a few old style wood headstock 
> bells that shift fast enough.

Seconded. There are many bells in and around Bristol on Wooden 
stocks that fly round, compared to a modern ring of comparable size!

I feel that it is a feature of the bellhanging industry in general 
and a general misconception among ringers that tucking up makes for 
faster ringing. 

I feel the problem with sluggish bells is really down to the hanging 
geometry used nowadays, they are not hung out enough. Everyone 
appears to think that tucking a bell and having small wheels makes 
bells ring faster... I would put the case that it is quite the 

The more the bells in a ring are tucked up the more 'counter 
ballance' that the bell is providing by itself alone (added to this 
the effect of the heavier modern metal headstock).
The crown of the bell is closer to the gudgoens than it would have 
been on its older style hanging geometry. As a consequence to this 
it is then possible to fit a smaller wheel on the bell (giving less 
mechanical leverage over it). On a complete rehang and augmentation 
project it is commonly possible to fit more bells into the same 
space less came out of as a result of 'tucking up'!!!
Added to this is the fact that hanging the bell out slightly 
increases the potential energy in the bell when it is up, which is 
transfered to kinetic energy when the bell is moving through a 
circle, this causes the scalar speed at bottom dead centre to be 
faster than when the bell is tucked up.

I think there is a commonly held belief that 'modern' styles of 
hanging have got to be better...but why??!

There are plenty of rings of bells that have been re-hung recently 
and do not have individual character to their ring-abilty on the end 
of the rope, they are nowadays all the same to ring, the only 
difference being that the sound different to the last ring.

One significant advantage of hanging bells further out, is that it 
is far easier to get bells to clapper correctly, because you can use 
a relativley short crown staple for the same equivalent throw of a 
modern hang, and have a longer and thus slower swinging clapper with 
no counterballance, and as a result have a big bell that goes up 
right easily!! - they used to get it right, its not all down to the 
material the clapper is made of!!

There is just as much character in the way a bell (or ring) has been 
hung as there is in the sound of the individual bell. Shouldnt we be 
conserving the hanging styles aswell as the bells? 

Philip M Pratt.


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