The Physics of Swinging Bells

Bells in a peal swing back and forth to ring, like this: The clapper inside the bell hangs down from the top, and it swings up to strike the bell close to its most extreme position, which makes a flying clapper, or it falls down to strike the bell at the same extreme position, whichContinue reading “The Physics of Swinging Bells”

Bells for the Pope Part II

I got some more info on the bells for the Pope! I blogged the first installment last week. First of all, I neglected to include the fourth church Pope Francis visited on his US tour: the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington D.C. I’m not sure if they have bells or not. Please acceptContinue reading “Bells for the Pope Part II”

Bells for the Pope

The media is all abuzz about the Pope’s visit to Washington D.C., New York, and Philadelphia. No one has covered the bells in the churches he’s visited, though, so I’ll share what I know! On September 23rd, Pope Francis gave a Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington,Continue reading “Bells for the Pope”

St. Michael in Old Town, Chicago, Illinois

St. Michael Catholic Church in Old Town (neighborhood north of downtown Chicago) was established in the 1850s to serve German immigrants. In 1869 the parish had finished a magnificent new church–one of the tallest buildings in the city. The Chicago Fire of 1871 demolished the new house of worship, including its bells (number and makerContinue reading “St. Michael in Old Town, Chicago, Illinois”

St. Hyacinth Basilica, Chicago, Illinois

St. Hyacinth Basilica is the stunning heart of Chicago’s Polish community. The Catholic parish was founded in 1894 to serve local Poles, and the current basilica was completed in 1921. The basilica has hosted many high-profile visitors due to its importance to the large Polish community. Future Pope John Paul II visited multiple times whenContinue reading “St. Hyacinth Basilica, Chicago, Illinois”

Revenge of the Bells

John Potter Briscoe in Curiosities of the Belfry (1888) brings us this tale of vengeful bells in England. It is stated in a curious and rare little pamphlet on Catholic Miracles, published in 1825, that a band of sacrilegious robbers having broken into a monastery, proceeded out of bravado to ring a peal of bells,Continue reading “Revenge of the Bells”

The Wedding Bells of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Part II

So what’s the solution to our tuning problem introduced in my last blog post? On the one hand, if we tune the five lowest partials in all the bells to perfect equal temperament tuning, we will avoid beats (an unpleasant effect resulting from tones very close together in frequency sounding simultaneously) when different bells ringContinue reading “The Wedding Bells of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Part II”

The Wedding Bells of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Part I

Remember those countless years ago when the bells of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London pealed out for Prince Charles’ and Princess Diana’s wedding? I sure don’t; I was a toddler. My mom says she watched it, though, so I might have caught some glimpses of it. You can hear the full range of the twelveContinue reading “The Wedding Bells of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Part I”