The world's largest bells. Bell terminology. Famous bell museums. The Peterglocke. Liberty Bell. Big Ben. Pummerin Bell. King Seongdeok Bell. World Peace Bell. Mingun Bell. The Tsar Bell. The Lutine Bell. Sounds of a bell. Parts of a bell. A bell is a percussion instrument known as an idiophone.
Bells have been used for hundreds of years as an instrument of warning, to gain attention or as a call to prayer.
A bell is a percussion instrument known as an idiophone - an instrument which creates sound by way of vibration.
Bells can be made from many types of materials, but the larger ones featured in this article are generally made from forged metal, usually bronze.
Bells can create sound by way of a clapper that is housed within the body of the bell that strikes the housing interior, which can be done by hand or by way of being suspended from a yoke.
A bell can also create sound by way of being struck on the outside of the bell housing with another instrument, which can be done either by hand or mechanically.
PARTS OF A BELL
2 ) CROWN
3 ) HEAD
4 ) SHOULDER
5 ) WAIST
6 ) SOUND RING
7 ) LIP
8 ) MOUTH
9 ) CLAPPER
10 ) BEAD LINE.
SOUNDS OF A BELL
CHIME - A set of bells tuned diatonically. PEAL - A group of two or more swinging bells. TOLL - A single bell rang in slow repetition.
THE LUTINE BELL AT LLOYDS OF LONDON
Famous sounding bells of the world are Big Ben in the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster London UK, which is world renowned for it's hourly chime and The Lutine Bell, also in London UK, housed in the Underwriting Room at Lloyds of London Insurance Company headquarters, which is rang in times of international disaster, when a ship sinks at sea or when a member of the British Royal Family dies.
THE WORLD'S FIVE LARGEST BELLS
Image courtesy of dino, wikimedia commons.
1. THE TSAR BELL
The world's largest bell is situated in Kremlin Square, Moscow, Russia. The great bell does not ring as it was broken during a fire in 1737. Manufactured between 1733 and 1735 the huge bell, cast from bronze and weighing 216 tons, is 20 foot high and 21 wide, in fact so large is this bell, that it was once used as a chapel, with the broken piece used as a door opening.
Image courtesy of Hintha, wikimedia commons.
2. THE MINGUN BELL
The world's second largest bell is situated in Mingun, Myanmar and was manufactured between 1808 and 1810.
The bell is 12 foot high and has a diameter of 16 foot and weighs 90 tons.
The bell does not house a clapper, but creates sound by way of being struck on it's exterior.
Image courtesy of Absoblogginlutely, wikimedia commons.
3. WORLD PEACE BELL
Situated in Millennium Park, Newport, Kentucky and is one of 20 Peace Bells situated around the world. The 33 ton copper cast bell is the world's largest swinging bell and the world's third largest bell by size.
It was manufactured in 1998 in France and shipped to the USA by boat, then transported to Kentucky by river boat.
Its first ring was made to see in the new millenium in 2000.
4. KING SEONGDEOK BELL
Possibly one of the world's oldest bells, this bell located at The National Museum in Gyeongji, in South Korea is 3.3 metres high, with a diameter of 2.27 metres and weighs 18.9 tons and cast from bronze.
The bell was manufactured between 765 and 771, during the reign of the king after which it was named, King Seongdeok, but he never lived to see it completed.
5. THE PUMMERIN BELL
Cast in 1951 from metal obtained from captured Turkish canons, the bell located at the Stephensdom Cathedral in Vienna, Austria weighs 130 kgs, is 3.14 metres tall and has a diameter of 2.94, and is the world's third largest swinging bell and the world's fifth largest bell by size.
Due to it's great weight the bell is only rang on high days and holidays and it's electrical swing mechanism is controlled by computer.
OTHER LARGE BELLS
image courtesy of Randal.J. wikimedia commons.
The world's largest carillon bell ( www.carillons.org ) is situated at the Stephen Foster Folk and Culture Centre at the State Park in White Springs, Florida, USA, which contains 97 bells.
The world's largest group of change ringing bells are situated at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral, UK, which are made up of 13 bells surrounding a large 16 ton main bell (Big George) which are set into concrete (the first bells in the world to be made so) and housed 67 metres above ground, making them the highest set of bells in the world too.
The world's largest, horizontally mounted, free swinging, ringable bell is situated in the south tower of Cologne Cathedral in Germany and is known as the Peterglocke. The giant bell weighs 24,000 kg and has a diameter of 322 cm.
The world's heaviest bell is the Good Luck bell situated at the Foquan Temple, Pingdingshan, China, weighing 255,200 lbs or 115,757 kgs.
The UK's five largest bells are 1) Big Paul, housed in St Paul's Cathedral, London, 2) Big George, housed in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral, 3) Big Ben at the Tower of Westminster, London, 4) Great Tom, located at Tom Tower, Christ Church, Oxford and 5) Little John situated in the Clock Tower of Nottingham Council Offices, Nottingham. This bell is also the deepest toned bell in the UK and can be heard further than any other bell in the country.
Image courtesy of Tonythemisfit, wikimedia commons.
THE WORLD'S MOST ICONIC BELL, AMERICA'S LIBERTY BELL SITUATED IN PHILEDELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA.
FAMOUS BELL MUSEUMS
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry Museum, Whitechapel, London, UK.
Liberty Bell Museum, Philedelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Ancient Bell Museum, Dazhong Temple, Haidan, China.
The Bell Museum, Gescher, Germany.
BRITAIN'S MOST FAMOUS, BUT NOT LARGEST BELL, BIG BEN
BELFRY - A tower which contains one or more bells generally built as part of a church.
CAMPANOLOGIST - A bell ringer.
CAMPANOLOGY - The study of bells.
CAMPANOLOGY - The art of bell ringing.
CAMPANILE - A free standing bell tower.
CARILLON - A set of many bells worked mechanically to create a musical peal (www.carillons.org).
CHANGE RINGING - The art of ringing a set of tuned bells in a mathematical pattern called changes.
RING OF BELLS - A set of bells hung for the purpose of change ringing. Sometimes written as ring o bells, peal bells or English style bells.
MORE WORLD'S LARGEST ARTICLES.
© D.B.Bellamy.October, 2010.