[Bell Historians] Harrington, Latham & Co

Carl S Zimmerman csz_stl at nZXSb9HyfT3pP05rcvWwH3DrMznK_SDHFzXOLqRJ7iFtt4kM4uApof34KaNSAIg_WAdZ5XmQcxqAiT7sYw.yahoo.invalid
Sat Aug 18 05:44:33 BST 2007

At 12:45 +0000 07/08/17, Mike Chester wrote:
>I have had an enquiry from an Australian enthusiast about the firm. If
>you want to hear what the tubes sound like, try this!

Leaving aside the monotony of the music (which is remedied when you 
find other YouTube videos by the same person), I found the visual 
image of the chiming rack very interesting.  That's because of the 
similarities to, and differences from, the Harrington and 
Harrington/Durfee installations which I have seen in the USA.

The general design of the rack is very similar, including the 
horizontal spacing of the ropes and the labelling on the upper 
crossbar of the rack.  One difference is the vertical spacing of the 
two crossbars - Durfee set the lower crossbar much lower, so that it 
would be impractical to put a music rack on it as is seen in this 
chimer's videos.  That greater spacing makes possible a different 
method of chiming, however.  Instead of "plucking" the ropes (as in 
these videos), they are grasped in the hand and pulled straight 
toward the floor.  The available evidence indicates that Durfee's 
chimestands were originally equipped with short sallies, and in some 
cases those still survive, albeit rather the worse for more than a 
century's wear!

The other notable difference is in the range and disposition of 
notes.  The videos depict the 13-note chime of St.John's, 
Darlinghurst, Sydney, and show that its basis is a 10-note diatonic 
scale (non-transposing).  To that are added the sharp 4th (F#) and 
flat 7th (Bb), which are quite common; but also the bass leading tone 
(B), which may be a unique arrangement.  (The size of this chime is 
unusual in comparison to the 200+ tubular chimes which Mike Chester 
lists in the UK - there all but two are smaller than this one.)  By 
contrast, the most common size for the Harrington/Durfee tubular 
chimes in North America is 15 notes; all of the ones which I have 
examined are are in the key of G# or A (both non-transposing) with 
two or three added semitones.

Back to similarities:  All of the Harrington or Durfee chimes which I 
have seen use striker mechanisms that are essentially the same as 
what is depicted in other videos by the same chimer.  There are some 
variations in the shape of the hammer head, but functionally they are 
all identical.  Perhaps this indicates that Durfee was smart enough 
not to mess with a good thing when he found it!

I really must get some photos posted to towerbells.org so that people 
can see what I'm writing about.



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