One of the major problems faced by both foundries was how to make small bells which would fit the extended range needed for carillons. Prior to Taylor's rediscovery (in the 1890s) of the Hemony brothers' principles of tuning, neither foundry had attempted anything of this size. (Taylor had made a 21-bell chime in 1877, but it was not a success.) At the bass end, they had made some quite large bells for clock-chimes, as well as Great Paul, still the heaviest bell in the United Kingdom. But at the treble end, their experience was almost entirely with sets of 10 to 12 bells hung for change-ringing. And it was obvious from the start that the system of varying profiles used for the trebles of such rings could not be extended to two octaves and beyond.
The foundries addressed this problem by using essentially fixed profiles, i.e., the trebles had approximately the same profiles as basses but were smaller. Specifically, for two bells an octave apart in pitch, the smaller will be 1/2 the diameter and 1/8 the weight of the larger. For two octaves apart, the ratios are 1/4 and 1/64; for three octaves, 1/8 and 1/512; for four octaves, 1/16 and 1/4096. (In practice, this would have made the bells at the top of the fourth octave impossibly small, so some thickening of the profiles of the trebles was necessary to obtain practical sizes.) With this system, the bells could be tuned to the correct pitches quite accurately. Unfortunately, this raised a new problem - even with their thickened profiles, the trebles produced a very small sound compared to the basses. Quite likely this was evident in the very first English-made 4-octave carillon, which was installed in the Rotterdam City Hall in 1920-21.
The Taylor foundry addressed this new problem with an ingenious solution - the topmost octave or so of trebles was given doubled bells. That is, for each note there were two bells of the same pitch, with their clappers linked together so that they would strike at the same time and (in theory) produce twice as much sound as a single bell. This scheme was used for the next seven 4-octave carillons produced by Taylor, from 1924 through 1929, and for one more carillon made in 1932, as can be seen in the table below. (The reason for the production of both doubled and un-doubled trebles in 1929-32 is not yet known.)
In spite of the ingenuity of this approach, it was soon realized that doubled trebles were more trouble than they were worth. In the first place, they were very difficult to tune to exactly matching pitch. In the second place, the mechanisms of the day made it very difficult to get a pair of trebles to strike at exactly the same instant. Taylor soon stopped supplying them, and the carillonneurs fairly soon disconnected the extra bells. So the sequence of early Taylor carillons in America (plus their four large carillons elsewhere during the same period) looks like this:
Rotterdam, NL 1920-21 49 bells = 49 notes (in Netherlands) Gloucester 1922 23 bells (first modern carillon in America) Andover 1923 23 bells (initial installation) Birmingham 1924 25 bells Gloucester 1924 31 bells (enlargement from 23 in 1922) Morristown 1924 35 bells (largest carillon in USA for a short time) +Loughborough, UK 1924 47 notes / 60 bells (in England) Andover 1926 37 bells (enlargement from 23 in 1923) +Philadelphia 1927 48 notes / 63 bells +Albany 1927 47 notes / 60 bells +Cranbrook 1928 48 notes / 61 bells +Springfield - TM 1928 48 notes / 60 bells +Lake Wales Sep.1928 48 notes / 61 bells (initial installation) +Sydney, AU 1928 49 notes = 62 bells (in Australia) +Indianapolis 1929 49 notes / 63 bells +Lake Wales 1929 53 notes / 71 bells (first enlargement) Ames 1929 36 notes (enlargement from 10 in 1899) -Saint Helens, UK 1929 47 notes = 47 bells (in England) -Lincoln 1931 48 notes = 48 bells -Durham 1932 50 notes = 50 bells (originally planned as 48) Hartford 1932 30 bells +Richmond 1932 53 notes / 66 bells (last attempt at doubling) Rumson 1934 25 bells -Ann Arbor 1936 53 notes = 53 bells -Luray 1937 47 notes = 47 bells Springfield - HPC 1937 25 bellsSites marked "+" were of four octaves or more and had doubled trebles (and are linked to their site data pages, where more details can be found);
So far as is known, no other bellfounder ever tried this method of getting more sound out of the treble range of a carillon. All of the others used progressively thicker profiles to compensate for shrinking size, even if that sometimes required using outside hammers because there was insufficient space inside for a conventional clapper. Not surprisingly, Taylor was much slower to thicken their treble profiles, and has never done so to the extent that some other foundries did.
As mentioned above, all of the duplicate trebles were eventually disconnected, leaving a single working bell for each note throughout the range. In six of the nine carillons which had them, later work has replaced the doubled trebles (and more) with bells of heavier profile, and the bell frames have been reworked or replaced so that no physical evidence of the original configuration remains. The original frame (minus duplicate bells) may remain at Philadelphia, while both frame and duplicate bells are believed to remain in place at Loughborough and Springfield - mute evidence of an experiment which failed.
This page was created 2005/12/01 and last revised on 2009/04/20.
Please send comments or questions about this page to email@example.com.