[Bell Historians] G&J bell tops

John Baldwin Dovemaster at fap5BR1L2gAyT_mkS_NiVHWgGMeBWdvwDU0e5T_UKeugdAFD4trB2hr8w_IsnqeuIQaP3gGmkAU_T-zWYlsf.yahoo.invalid
Thu Oct 2 11:44:10 BST 2008

I think it might have helped members of this list if a more complete 
story had been told by Rod Bickerton. Let me expand on what has 

Prior to yesterday, the pNBR details for the bells at S Mary, Watford 
(Herts) were showing that the bells are flat-headed.  That 
information was supplied by Ian Cresshull from the Herts CA database 
very soon after work started on compiling the pNBR.

Late on Monday evening this week, Rod submitted an update indicating 
that, rather than being flat-headed, the treble and 2 have a 'button-
top'.  Further, his supporting comment read (and I quote verbatim):

"> normal Gillett & Johnston tops for the date."

which surprised me a little.  I replied (not only indicating that the 
update had missed Monday's upload, but also) saying:

"... I was interested in your comment at the end.  So I have prepared 
a quick report selecting data from the 45,000 entries we now have in 
the pNBR at present, looking for G&J bells, post 1920, and with 
diameter in the range 26 to 29".  The list is attached - and either 
nearly everybody has missed the canon type, they've been cut off 
since (but none is marked R), ... or such a top is not quite as 
prevalent as you have suggested here.

I think it would make for quite an interesting discussion topic on 
the Historians' list: how about you starting one.

Best wishes ..."

which as you will fully realise was very much a subset of G&J bell 
information that is at present on the pNBR.  If anyone is 
particularly interested in it, I will happily make that list 
available, off-line.

Rod clearly has risen to my suggestion, but I'd suggest in rather a 
contextless way such that it seems to be open to incomplete 
understanding and appearing to want to involve Alan Buswell (which I 
thought unnecessary at this stage, even if at all, which is precisely 
why I didn't alert Alan myself).

I'd like to hear that discussion, namely: 

is Rod correct in suggesting that G&J bells of a particular era are 
normally button tops rather than being flat-headed?  

I ask this because Elphick (Craft of the Bellfounder), p43, which 
deals with this type of canon does not seem to mention any such G&J 
practice (unless I have missed it).

Please remember in discussing the matter that, for the purposes of 
the pNBR anyway, the "button top" classification has been indicated 
as encompassing flanges or buttons and irrespective of whether there 
is a central supporting 'pillar' or 'several discrete pillars'.

John Baldwin


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