Frequently Asked Questions
Other Handbell Manufacturers
Jerry Olson wrote: Here are some of the handbell manufacturers that existed in the past couple centuries. Thanks to Sue Nelson for this info compiled from books and personal communication with various foundry personnel.
To this list was added a list from Malcolm Edwards (see note at bottom of page) and then another from Willard Markey. The Editor welcomes corrections to the list and additions to any of the listings.
English Handbell Manufacturers Note American Handbell Manufacturers Netherland Handbell Manufacturers Other Handbell Manufacturers
Cor, William & Robert -- 1696-1719 -- Aldbourne, Whltshire, Eng. -- name within bell;
hand-filled to pitch.Robert Cor Aldbourne, Wilts 1696-1724Wells, Robert (succeeded Cors) --Aldbourne, Whltshire, 1764-1799--
William Cor " 1696-1722
Oliver Cor " 1725-1727
John Cor " 1728-1750
Edne Witts " 1759-17744
Edward Hemins, Bicesster 1760-1780Robert Wells 1781-1799William Rose Lambourn, Berkshire (18th century).
Robert & James Wells 1791-1826
Thomas Lester London 1735-1769
Thomas Mears 1787-1810
Thomas Mears London & Gloucester 1805-1843
Charles Mears London 1844-1861
George Mears 1844-1861
Robert Stainbank Whitechapel, London 1865-1884
Mears & Stainbank 1865-1968
Whitechapel London 1968-Present
E Plumer Ramsbury, Wiltshire (18th century).
John Warner & Sons London 1760-1924
William Base 1789-1800
John Kingston Bridgewater 1790-1829
William Rudder 1800-1820
Symondson, Henry; Briant, John -- Hertford, Eng. --1782-1825 -- name engraved on waist of bell.Symondson, Henry; Taylor, John -- Loughborough, Eng.--1825-1839 -- initials H.S.;
smooth lathe finish.
John Taylor & Co Bellfounders -- Loughborough, Eng. --1839-present -- initials
J.T.; thicker pattern; superior tuning. (JT claims a bell-founding lineage back to the
John Rudhall Gloucester (19th century).
William Cary Bristol (19th century).
James Platt London (19th century).
Llewellins & James Bristol (19th century).
Frederick White Appleton, Berkshire 1875-1909Richard White Appleton, Berkshire 1908-1956Dunn, William -- c.1817-1852 -- London, Eng. -- initials W.D.; some bells silvered - Bells were marked WD on the crown. The molds he used to make his bells were sold to:George Stockmam (1852 to 1881) - WD on crown and GS on capWelsh, George -- Bankside, London, Eng. c.1850 -- no known existing bells.
George Welch (1881 to 1900) London - WD on crown and GW on cap
J. F. Mallaby (1900 - ?) Masham, Yorks - WD on crown and no other markings
Barwell, James -- Birmingham, Eng. -- 1870-1920 -- no known existing bells.
Warner, John -- London, Eng. -- c.1870-1910 -- initials J.W.James Bridgeman Aldbourne, Wilts 1828-1851
Philip Symondson London 1847-1852
John Shaw Bradford 1848-1902
William Blews & Sons Birmingham 1850-1891
Henry Bond Westcot, Glos 1851-1861Henry Bond Burford, Oxon 1862-1905Shaw, John -- Bradford, Yorkshire, Eng. c.1870-1900 -- wide clapper staple
Henry Bond II & Thomas Bond 1905-1947
James Barnwell Birmingham 1870-1920
Gillette & Johnson Croydon 1877-1954
William Greenleaf & Salisbury 1884-1901
Thomas Blackburn " 1890-1903
Charles Carr Birmingham 1885-1923
Alfred Bowell & Son, Alfred Ipswich 1893-1940Alfred Bowell & Son, Frederick -- Ipswich 1940-1950Moore, William -- Salisbury - London, Eng. -- c.1900-1930 - shoulders rounded on larger bells.
W. Haley Walthamstow 1922-1927
Gillett & Johnston Croydon, Surrey, Eng.- 1948-1954
Roy Carnall Codnor, Derbyshire 1978-Present
Rowland Maylan Brooklyn, NY 1866-1942
Edward Street Hartford, CT 1880-1920
J. C. Deagan Co. Chicago, IL 1890-1920
David Workman Kansas City, MO 1954-1963
Bernard Mason (Tru-Sonic) Southern California 1960-1964
Schulmerich Carillons Sellersville, PA 1962-Present
Del Roper (Golden Bells) California 1964-1967
Malmark Doylestown, New Britain 1974-Present
& Plumsteadville, PA
Maas-Rowe Carillons Escondido, CA 1986-1 995
Petit & Fritsen Aarle-Rixtel, Netherlands 1955-2000
Through the years, there have been many bell manufacturers in Holland, France, Great Britain, and the United States.
Van Bergin - The foundry in Greenwood, SC, was established by H. T. van Bergen, a descendant of the long-established bellfounding family located in Heiligerlee, the Netherlands. He came to the U.S.A. shortly after World War II. The Greenwood foundry made tower bells in smaller sizes, while larger bells were imported from the family foundry in Heiligerlee, operated by Andreas H. van Bergen. Whether separately or in cooperation, the two foundries made a considerable number of carillons (both traditional and electric action) and chimes (all with electric action). The Van Bergin foundry in Greenwood, South Carolina continued until the late 70's, about the same time when they began building electronic carillons and importing tower bells from Holland, I believe.
It is not clear whether either vanBergen foundry ever made English handbells. However, J.M.Kearns sent an "old" set of handbells, unknown manufacturer, to the Greenwood Foundry to have them renovated. The impression received at the foundry was that they had, indeed, make handbells but not at the present.
In the United States, the Maas-Rowe company in California designed and marketed handbells. The noted feature of the bell was the adjustable clapper and spring mechanism that was thought to provide a greater variety of timbre. Unfortunately, it seems there were limited sales and that there were design problems, causing the company to cease production of handbells.
One noted bell maker is the Deagan company who made a variety of bells in addition to handbells. The AGEHR museum will house a number of examples of Deagan chimes and bells, including horse collar, tuned cowbells, and shaker bells.
Malcolm further notes: "In the heyday of handbell manufacturing in Britain in the 19th century there were many, many groups in villages and towns around the country with very large sets of handbells used for entertaining in music hall or concert situations, and the advertisements that appear at that time for handbell manufacturers clearly show that many manufacturers were producing sets up to 5-octaves in size. There was also the obvious sale of smaller sets specifically for the use of church change-ringing groups to practice their art, with sets advertised specifically for that."
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