QUOTE(hello_cello @ Jun 13 2012, 12:20 AM)
The contract for the bell was given to Whitechapel Foundry rather than Taylor's in Loughborough.
Taylor's has the capacity to cast such a bell, but Whitechapel does not. So, Whitechapel have subcontracted it out to a foundry in Holland. I don't know, but I'd guess it's gone to the Royal Eijbouts foundry. Dutch Bins (as they are affectionately known) are far inferior to Taylor bells!
There has been quite a lot of discussion about this recently in 'The Ringing World' ('The official journal of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers')
Harmonic tuning does indeed refer to machining them - the bell is turned upside down and a lathe used to remove metal from the inside at various points to flatten the harmonic, or rarely sharpen it by removing metal from the outside. Andante_in_C is correct that it isn't just one note tuned - the hum, prime, tierce, quint, and nominal are all tuned (octave below, note, minor 3rd above, 5th above, octave above respectively) This system was I believe pioneered by Canon Simpson in the late 1800s, and hence is known as Simpson Tuning.
For interest's sake - Great Paul is the largest bell in the country. It's in St Paul's Cathedral weighing just over 334 cwt (bells being measured in cwt) That was cast in 1881, so may not be Simpson tuned. There's a bit about it on here - http://london.lovesguide.com/paul_cathedral_sw.htm
Thank you so much for this explanation. The little I remember now makes more sense!
I still ring regularly, but I am not much in the loop these days about new bells and suchlike.
From what you say would I be right in thinking that the Dutch bell is shaped more like a bucket than a traditional British bell?
The original Tenor in our local church was shaped rather like a bucket, and we believe was cast on site in 1490. It was still in regular use until 1998 when it was moved to a vacant pit for swing chiming, as it had cracked once (in 1937), and could probably not be repaired again. Apart from a rather dull sound (partly caused by the crack), it did also have a different tone to the remaining four bells, which came from York, and were not hung until 1730.
The story was that there were to be six bells, but the church couldn't afford to pay for them all, so the Treble was sent back to York, and we were left with a ring of five bells until 1998.
A new Treble and Second were cast by Taylors at Loughborough in 1998, and we went on a visit there when the metal was being poured into the moulds. It was a fascinating, if smelly day!
Ureic Acid is important to the quality of the bell whilst the bell metal is cooling, so Taylors make their moulds from a mixture of horse dung and clay. This also explains why bell founders usually set up shop close to barracks or royal stables where there would have been a ready supply of such materials!
I believe Taylors (and probably Whitechapel) still provide tours around their works, which are well worthwhile if anyone is interested.