[Bell Historians] Bells triumph over complaints

Carl S Zimmerman csz_stl at swbell.net
Mon Jan 2 20:09:36 GMT 2023

Although the event is ancient, its result might be useful today for those dealing with complaints about noise from bells.  Here's what happened:
English-born jeweler and watchmaker Ebenezer Pulcifer Percival settled in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1880.  In 1887 he ordered a lightweight chime of 8 bells (tenor 240 lbs) from the McShane Bell Foundry of Baltimore.  It was delivered in September of that year, and within two months there was a lawsuit complaining that the bells were a nuisance.  The trial was reported as follows:
    https://www.newspapers.com/clip/115601946/complaining-of-the-chimes/The result was a victory for the bells:    https://www.newspapers.com/clip/115616191/jeweler-percivals-bells/The judge's instructions to the jury are remarkably sensible!
Several months later, Mr. Percival ordered another bell from McShane; with a pattern weight of 275 lbs.  It is unknown whether this was to be an extension of the chime or to serve a separate function, such as an hour bell.  And it's unknown how long the chime was in use, or what eventually happened to it.  However, the shop inventory taken after his death in late 1912 did include "one bell," which might have been a remnant of the chime.

Carl Scott Zimmerman, Campanologist 
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA -
 - 19th c. home of at least 37 bell founders or resellers 
Tel. +1-314-821-8437 
Webmaster for www.TowerBells.org
 * Avocation: tower bells
 * Recreation: handbells
 * Mission: church bellsWebmaster for www.TSCChapter134.orgTreasurer, World Carillon Federation
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