[Bell Historians] Re: Radial Frames

David Bryant davidbryant at cmsdTTXqcipnuQ0cpz_Lix2Gc5uWIJsoifNoMC2YVNrKLV1_yx78eFIAZSUbgLAo4jC05uzBEBOT_K0eBoRmC9hwBqY.yahoo.invalid
Sat Dec 23 18:51:18 GMT 2006

> Was Liverpool Anglican Cathedral the first?

I believe Liverpool was the first, and so far as I am aware it is the only
one (and indeed the only bell frame anywhere) to be made entirely of
concrete - other radial frames, such as Washington Cathedral, consist of
steel or iron framesides and joining plates on a concrete foundation.

Whilst radial frames do have advantages, they are entirely impractical in
the majority of towers as they require a lot of space - far more than is
generally available.

> What happens when an augmentation is required - can the new bells
satisfactorily go on top or is a new frame required?

Standard radial frames (in  so far as there can be a standard, there being
so few of them) are of the lowside type in that the bearings are mounted on
the top members of the frameside units. In order to add another tier, it
would be necessary to replace these with H-type units so that a further
lowside tier could be constructed on top. It would probably also be
necessary to brace the upper tier down to the floor of the walls in some
way. Whilst this might work, it wouldn't be a very elegant design and would
pose difficulties in getting a decent circle, thereby obviating one of the
main advantages of a radial frame. I suppose it might also be possible to
construct individual lowside metal frames next to or within the radial
frame, but again this would be a very messy solution. I believe that there
was consideration given to augmenting the bells at Washington cathedral to
12 plus a flat 6th, involving completely dismantling the frame and enlarging
it (the joining plates would presumably all need to be replaced as the
angles would be wrong). I don't know whether this plan is still under
consideration - I believe we have at least one Washington ringer on this
list who will doubtless know.

Basically, radial frames are only a good idea if the bells are never likely
to be augmented - in practice this generally means that unless the ring is
of 12, and either has at least one semitone or is very light, a radial frame
may not be the best answer (unless empty pits are left), as it could
preclude or at least make very difficult any future augmentation.



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