[Bell Historians] steam-bending ash for sliders

David Cawley davidl.cawley at YDAmyreEddRAi92W8qjwGF0jjFsk21UcFr-SHUTttxUG3c1IwYQqMAuBtxk725HX6IEwGKFVUciPQgc2Y5LLMHeujc7AJg.yahoo.invalid
Wed Oct 31 16:16:13 GMT 2012

CJP wrote:
For what it's worth, my impresson is that the use of "bent" sliders is 
probably a mid- to late- C19th thing. Before that, other forms of 
setting devices (spur stays and pendulum sliders) were more common. But 
I don't think I've ever seen any curved stays or sliders that I would 
confidently place much before 1850

Chris's contribution set me thinking, and off hand I don't recall any attributable installations having curved sliders earlier than the mid 19th century. 

Certainly the straight slider was the most common device before 1700 (indeed I respectfully query Chris's statement that "other setting devices....were more common.") My own observations specifically in such varied locations as the Bristol area, Norfolk, London and Kent indicate that the horizontal straight slider was fairly normal in the 17th and 18th centuries. Where there was a lack of room the stay was sometimes placed adjacent to the wheel and the metal latchet device, usually with a horizontal setting pendulum to replace the slider, began to be used. It is largely with late 18th - early 19th century installations that I have noticed a specific concern to make the conventional stay shorter, at first by shaping the pivot end of the slider so as to raise the sliding end. Late 19th century woodcuts generally, though by no means always, indicate that the curved slider developed from this, the purpose being to have the whole of the slider of a constaint thickness, the pivot end lyng flat on the centre block (slider pin).

The curve itself was, of course, partly to allow the stay to be made reasonably short, partly to allow the flight of the clapper to swing clear of it. Some developed this to the extreme, as many of Gillett & Johnston's later installations testify.   

As to the use of the latchet slider as an alternative, it is by no means unusual especially in mid-19th century installations (as for example the entire ring of ten at St Barnabas, Pimlico), and not always as a means of saving room. They became unpopular because of the tendency to cause bells to lift from plain bearings when "bumped" so close to the point of rotation.


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