The Handbell Wars

So I’ve alluded to the fierce competition between the two Meneely bell foundries located across from each other on the Hudson River in New York State (both foundries have gone out of business). There is another intense competition in the handbell world between Schulmerich and Malmark that has only very recently eased up on theirContinue reading “The Handbell Wars”

Paul Revere, Bell Founder

Did you know that Paul Revere cast bells? I know, right!? He warns of enemy troops AND casts bells—he’s a patriot after my own heart. And really, he did it all. From the Massachusetts Historical Society, we learn he was at one time or another a silversmith, engraver, revolutionary propagandist, soldier, cannon founder, dentist, hardwareContinue reading “Paul Revere, Bell Founder”

Bronzen Piano (with lead)

There are multiple successful mobile carillons today, each of which deserve a separate blog post, but one in particular caught my eye when reading the recent edition of the Bulletin of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America.* The Bronzen Piano, owned and played by Koen Van Assche and Anna Maria Reverté, has a uniqueContinue reading “Bronzen Piano (with lead)”

Jacob Van Eyck and the Hemony Brothers

It’s hard to underestimate the standing of the Hemony brothers—Pierre and François Hemony—in the carillon world. With the likely help of Jacob Van Eyck, they were the first European bell founders to effectively tune the lower five partials in bells. Before them, an instrument of well-tuned bells was a dream that many strived for butContinue reading “Jacob Van Eyck and the Hemony Brothers”

Jacob Van Eyck

Today’s account comes courtesy to us from Luc Rombot’s masterful Singing Bronze: A History of Carillon Music.* I highly recommend his book for any reader interested in the history of bells. It’s a recent publication, so you can still easily purchase it online! We’ve seen the five lowest overtones in a bell that are tunedContinue reading “Jacob Van Eyck”

Rincker Bell Foundry in Chicago

As a Chicago resident, baptized by the bounteous snow, I naturally seek out information on the bell scene in my town. On the agenda for today is the bell founder Henry Rincker.* What I know: Henry Rincker was born in Germany in 1818 to a family of bell founders who had been casting bells sinceContinue reading “Rincker Bell Foundry in Chicago”


Inscriptions on bells can be a real hoot. Some depart from the standard message to praise and thank God. John Potter Briscoe in Curiosities of the Belfry (1888) provides some good fodder. Some are downright morbid. Prepare to die. Remember death. Some confidently state their abilities. All tho my voice be shrill & small, IContinue reading “Inscriptions”