Good Morning Carolyn & "prheuy"!
Under separate e-mail, you will receive an historic blurb on the Vanduzen Bell Foundry.
Unfortunately, bell foundry information has been an industry "secret" for 70 years now. There are no industry manuals to guide the lay-person. Even at the professional level, learning is trial & error with guidance from experienced technicians. Bells are poorly understood by architects & engineers, as bells involve structural & acoustically parameters.
"Bell Talk" has been an excellent forum for providing information. There are no complete bell foundries in the US, only bell marketing companies. There are only four musical bell foundries in the world:
(1) Royal Dutch Petit & Fritsen in the Netherlands,
(2) Royal Dutch Eijsbouts in The Netherlands (...the foundry I represent),
(3) Piccard Bell Foundry in France, and
(4) Taylor Bell in England.
The first three foundries are in excellent financial condition and are capable of producing excellent musical bells. The Netherlands has laws requiring villages to provide a bell clocks tower for public alert & time, thus The Netherlands, a country the size of Alabama, has more bell installations than the entire US. The French government financially supports bell ringing. The Taylor Bell Foundry makes bells primarily for Anglican / Episcopal change ringing. Change ringing bells are a slightly different profile and a heavier weight than carillon bells, thus Taylor is serving a very niche market. Taylor was placed into receivership this past spring, several non-industry persons purchased the foundry. While at the Royal Dutch Eijsbouts Foundry July first, several English "bell hangers" were at the foundry to purchase musical bells, as such, are not available in England. All foundries have the capibility of casting light weight to heavy weight bell profiles ... thus affecting musical quality, and overall cost.
In the US, there is a business tendency to provide less than specified; buyer beware. Bell casting and casting musically tuned bells are two very different industries.
Musical bells were always cast of 80% copper & 20% tin, i.e. bronze metal. The Liberty Bell was cast of only 70% copper, and 30% miscellaneous metals .... that is why it cracked, it was too brittle. Bronze metal gives off a harmonious sound when vibrated.
Brass is cast of copper & zinc ... the zinc will not permit the alloy to vibrate. It makes a discordant noise.
Bronze vs. brass: sound produced, length of vibration, metallic analysis, historic foundry information, legitimate foundry, current patina appearance. (Patina: at five years, bronze will be either reddish brown or green; the zinc in brass prevents it from corrosion.)
The Vanduzen Bell Foundry historically cast only bronze bells for schools, churches and county courthouses. Each institution had industry designated sizes, schools being from 20" to 28", churches 24" to 32", courthouses 32" to 46".
Bronze metal should not be cleaned, except with soap & water. Anything else, removes bell metal. Exposed bronze metal will form a thin layer of corrosion then stop. (Iron corrosion continues until the metal is consumed.) Sandblasting should only be done if the bell has paint on it. Personal care must be taken, as pigeon dung / dust contains 43 different viruses & diseases; one of which causes blindness. Bronze & brass bells must never be painted; iron bells must always be painted. Restoration of the bell for ringing
Historically, the bell was swing rung to produce the Call-To-Worship and sounds of joy. Bells always had at least two strikers: internal for swing ringing, and external for tolling. For tolling, the bell remained stationary and the striker hammered the bell, producing a monotone. This method produces the tones recognized as Funeral toll, Deprofundis, hour strike, fire alarm, and playing melodies.
For historical restoration, the bell is provided with replacement hardware, as needed. All bolts should be replaced with stainless steel for safety. Iron through copper produces galvanic corrosion. Re-hardwaring a bell can be extremely expensive.
Due to hardware costs, ignorance of bell ringing techniques, potential damage to historic bells, overall safety, for most situations, I recommend a single electronic striker either internally or externally mounted to sound the bell. Current controllers provide both a swinging bell sound and a stationary, i.e. tolling sound, from a stationary mounted bell. By energizing the striker with alternating 70 volt DC & 110 volt DC current, a swing bell sound is produced; timed correctly for the mass of the bell, there is no difference in the tones produced. For tolling sounds, the striker is energized with 110 volt DC current. A digital controller provides the correct parameters for the various sized bells.
For college campuses, an electronic striker with 100 year programmable digital controller would provide the capability of maximizing the bell's use on campus. The controller I sell, is software driven, permitting campus network interface, thus the bell may be sounded anywhere on campus. Campuses use this ability to sound the bell in a specific manner for security alert of staff, without alerting students.
Over 20 years experience as sales & engineering consultant in the bell industry, I have completed projects in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Israel, Zambia, and most US states. Current project is in San Luis Potosis, Mexico: 35 cast bronze musical bells played automatically & manually to be installed by September 15, 2010 in celebration of the 125 anniversary of the Mexican Revolution & 200 anniversary of the Cathedral of San Luis Potisis.Association declaration:
Royal Dutch Eijsbouts Bell Foundry in The Netherlands provides bell strikers, new cast & pre-owned bronze bells, bronze statues, engineering, architectural drafting, bell hardware, installation services, maintenance services twice annually in the US for major carillon installations, and sales support.
Chime Master Systems in Lancaster, Ohio provides electronic bell systems, and electronic bell control systems, manufactured in Ohio and distributed internationally through Royal Dutch Eijsbouts.
Electric Time Co., Inc. in Massachusetts provides clocks, clock control, local service & installation.
Mountain Machine & Welding in Gatlinburg, Tennessee provides precision metal work to supplement installations. This company fabricated the anti-heat seeking missile defense equipment for President Bush's helicopters.
Auburn Structural Engineers in Auburn, Alabama provides engineering computer modeling specifically for bells & steeple type structures, certified for 14 states.
All companies are independent family owned and operated.
If this gentleman would like assistance with his project, he needs to forward photos of the existing bell, both internal & external, and any existing hardware, along with the diameter opening of the bell. Notes on any obvious conditions is helpful. Photos, architectural drawings, etc. of the proposed physical structural location of the bell. With sufficient information, this bell could be restored in Iowa, or it may be shipped to Tennessee for restoration.
All information provided is free, except certified engineering. Our compensation comes from products provided.
Thank you for the opportunity of serving your bell needs.
John Eachus http://www.bells-clocks.com http://www.steeplescrosses.com