The study of bells

The overall study of bells is call campanology.  This is a very broad definition covering everything from the casting of bells out of bell metal to tuning the bells and even actually includes studying how the bells are played.  The term campanology is usuaully used to refer to the study of large bells, like antique farm bells or cathedral bells.

Bells can be made out of almost any material, the common being metal, but can include glass or ceramic.  The metal is call bell metal is usually an allow of copper with a mixture of up to 23% tin.  Some of the largest bells can be as large as several tons.  

Before the development of the railroad system these large bells were general cast right on the site that the bell was going to be used.  The form for these large bells may be dug right into the ground and the tower or other structure built right over it.  Then when the structure is ready the bell would be lifted straight up into position in the bell tower.

Parts of a bell

Parts of a bell(79108)
1.  Crown

2.  Head

3.  Shoulder

4.  Waist

5.   Bead line

6.  Sound rings

7.  Lip

8.  Mouth

9. Clapper

10.  Pull rope, on the bell pictures the pull rope is on the clapper, on many bells, especially tower mounted bells, the pull rope is on a bar attached near the head of the bell and the bell swings instead of just the clapper.

The clapper of a bell does not have to be attached to the inside of the bell, it can also refer to a seperate hammer or rod that is used to strike the bell.

Working with bells

A bell that is installed without any tuning is called a "Maiden Bell" and one that has been tuned is refered to as a "Tuned bell".

Historically bells were used in bell towers, or clock towers, to convey the time to the surrounding area.  Clocks did exist but were too expensive for most people to own.  In some languages "clock" and "bell" may be the same word.  Antique farm bells were used during colonial times through the mid 20th century in the United States to call the farmers into meals.

Now days many church bells have been replaced by speaker systems and farm bells have been replaced by cell phones.  Many people remember the antique farm bell that called them dinner as a child with nostalgia and many like to decorate with one around their modern homestead, even if it is only decorative.