BELLS are instruments of great antiquity, being spoken of in the book of Exodus as an appendage to the sacred dress of the high priest. It is thought that the word bell is derived from the old Saxon word bellan, which in that language meant to bawl, or bellow. The most joyous and the saddest feelings of mankind are very closely associated with bells. The praises of this musical instrument have been repeatedly celebrated in both poetry and prose. Who has not heard the familiar lines of Moore, "Those evening bells, those evening bells, “How many a tale their music tells"? It has been conjectured that the oldest bells in existence are those that were discovered by Mr. Layard in the ruins of Nimroud, Assyria. It is also interesting to add that when Columbus was at Cape Honduras, a trading canoe of the Indians had on board some small bells; and they also have been found in the tombs of the old Peruvians.

The ancient Persians had bells attached to their royal costumes, and in later times the Goths suspended them to their garments. In Egypt, and in some other countries, the girls wore strings of little bells attached to their ankles, as is common in Cairo at the present time. To this singular custom the prophet Isaiah doubtless refers in chap. 3:18. Among the old Greeks, a bell was sometimes hung on the neck of a malefactor on his way to execution.

A silver bell was the prize frequently run for at a race; hence the expression, "Bearing away the bell. "The Greeks and Romans attached bells to the necks of their cavalry horses to accustom them to noise, so they might not be affrighted at the horrid din of battle.

As a signal, to call the people together for some concerted action, the bell has been in use from remote times. Even in China, according to some, bells were used for religious purposes 2000 years prior to the Christian Era; this, if true, would take us back to the days of Abraham, and even much farther! All nations, with the exception of the Turks, have a mutual admiration for bells, one quaint writer even seriously maintaining, in a large volume upon the subject, that the employment of the blessed in Heaven would principally consist in the ringing of bells!

Associated in various ways with the ancient ritual of the church, bells seem to have naturally acquired a kind of sacred character. In early times in the Roman Church, for a long period it was the priest's office to ring the bell. Bells also were washed and named and even blessed. The ceremony was called, "The Baptism of Bells." As might be sup- posed, bells were early used in the Christian church; but it is not positively known who was the first to introduce them into the buildings. 

Some maintain that Bishop Paulinus, of Nola, a city in Campania, was the first to use bells in churches. Whether this be true or not, in some of the languages of Europe, bells are still called by the names Nola and Campania. In the tenth century, Pope John XIII. named a large bell after himself JOHN.

In the Middle Ages bells had attained a very prominent position. An old writer describes their three-fold use as follows: 

"To call the fold to church on time,

We chime. 

When joy and mirth are on the wing,

We ring.

When we lament a departed soul, 

We toll."

Many of their special uses were designated by the names given to certain bells. 

Thus, the Ave Maria, or Pardon Bell, was tolled at certain hours, when every one was enjoined to offer prayer to the Virgin Mary.

The Vesper Sell was the call to evening prayer.  The Sanctus Sell was rung at the words in the service, "Sancte, sancte, sancte, Deus Sabaoth," i. e., "Holy, holy, holy, Lord of Hosts," and every one on hearing it was expected to prostrate himself.

The Passing Sell was so named as being tolled when any one was passing from this mortal life.

The Curfew Sell (from the French couvre feu, or, "cover the fire,") was a signal for the inhabitants who lived in wooden houses to put out the fires, and retire for the night.

The Tocsin, or Alarm Bell, was sounded from castles and fortresses to announce the approach of an enemy. In the year 610, when Sens was besieged, the bishop of Orleans ordered the bells of St. Stephens to be rung to intimidate the enemy, and as late as 1457, Pope Calixtus III. employed the same device as a protection against the Turks, who with a strange superstition regarded bells as their most dangerous foe.

The modern Fire Sell is well described by the American poet, Edgar A. Poe: 

"Hear the loud alarum bells,

Brazen bells!

What a tale of terror now their turbulency tells! 

In the startled ear of night, 

How they scream out their affright! 

Too much horrified to speak, 

They can only shriek, shriek,

Out of tune,

In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire, In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire."

But any history of bells would be far from complete without reference to the great bells of the world. In respect to these, Russia far surpasses all other nations.  In the city of Moscow, alone, before the great revolution, there were no less than 1706 large bells.

But the "Great Bell of Moscow," or Czar Kalokol (i. e., the emperor of bells), is most note-worthy. Its weight is about 440,000 pounds, being a little mountain of metal. 

The cost of the bell metal alone is estimated at upwards of $300,000, to which, reliable writers say, $1,000,000 more was added in jewels and plate by the nobles at the time of casting. The dimensions of this monster bell are about 21 feet in height, 22 feet in diameter, and 40 feet 9 inches in circumference. Its sides are 16£ inches thick. It is ornamented on the sides by figures of Christ and the apostles and the Virgin Mary; also one of the Empress Anne, by whose order it was cast. The bell was originally suspended from beams, which being destroyed by fire in 1737, permitted the heated bell to fall to the ground and break, since which time it has remained dumb. The Emperor Nicholas had it raised in 1837, and placed upon a low, circular wall in the Kremlin. It is now consecrated as a chapel, the opening in its sides being large enough to admit two men standingabreast. The bell is carefully guarded, as we see in the engraving, and the Russians will not allow a single particle of the metal to be taken away. The piece, which is 

broken out, is of triangular shape, being 6 feet high, and 7 feet at the base. Its estimated weight is 11 tons.

There is another monstrous bell in the cathedral of Moscow, weighing 120,000 pounds. This bell is suspended in the tower of Ivan Veliki, and when it is rung, which is but three times a year, all the other bells are silent. Its mighty voice is said to produce a tremulous effect throughout the city, and a noise like the roaring of distant thunder. 

G. W. A.


THE bells of China rank next in size to those of Russia. It is the opinion of persons prepared to judge, that China is the country whence large bells have their origin. It is said to be not uncommon throughout the Celestial Empire to see enormous bells lying upon the ground, their great weight having broken down the towers in which they were suspended.

The "Great Bell of China," in Pekin, weighs 120,000 pounds, and is 14 feet high, and 12 feet in diameter. It is used to de-note the watches of the night. In Nankin there is a bell now fallen to the ground which weighs 50,000 pounds.

In Japan, bells are very commonly used. In form and composition they greatly resemble the bells of China, and are found of every size, and in great numbers. They are suspended in low towers, near the temples. At the commencement of worship, the bell is sounded to arouse the deity, and have him wide awake to listen to the calls of the devout. Our engraving on the next page shows a Japanese bell mounted after the custom of that people.

The bells of Holland and Belgium are remarkable for their size and number. Says a writer of the Netherlands, "The inhabitants are enthusiastic in their fondness for bells, which they never leave at rest." 

The weights of several of the so-called large bells of the world are as follows: A bell in Vienna, Austria, weighs 40,000 pounds. Another, in Olrnutz, is of equal size. A bell in Rouen, France, weighs 36,000 pounds. The largest bell in England, at Westminster, weighs 30,000 pounds. There is a famous bell at Erfurt, Germany, named Susanne, of the -same weight. Its tone was long regarded as without equal in all Europe. It was cast in 1497. Martin Luther, when a schoolboy, must have listened to its earliest peals. 

The largest bell in America is in the cathedral at Montreal, and weighs 25,000 pounds. 

Another in the church of Notre Dame, Paris, is of the same weight. The bell in St. Peters, at Rome, weighs 17,500 pounds, and "Great Tom," at Oxford, is nearly the same size. 

This last bell strikes 101 times every evening at nine o'clock.

The largest bell in the United States is the Alarm Bell on City Hall, New York. It was cast in Boston, and weighs 23,000 pounds. Its diameter is 8 feet, its height, 6 feet, and it is 7 inches thick.

But the bell of special interest in this country, is the famous old "Liberty Bell," now standing on a pedestal in the State House in Philadelphia. It was imported from England in 1752, and being cracked on trial, was re-cast. On its brazen sides are the following words of the Bible; PROCLAIM LIBERTY THROUGHOUT THE LAND UNTO ALL THE INHABITANTS THEREOF.

It was under this very bell that the brave representatives of the Thirteen Colonies first "Proclaimed Liberty," and this bell, with its iron tongue, started the tidings throughout the land. It was afterwards cracked when being rung in honor of Henry Clay in Philadelphia.

On the continent of Europe, chimes frequently consist of forty or fifty small bells, and are played by means of a barrel like that in a hand organ, or by clock-work.

The system now generally adopted in chime ringing is that of having each bell mounted stationarilly, with cords leading from the JAPANESE BELL,. ends of the clappers to manuals, arranged in the forms of levers, and operated by a single player.

The number of changes which can be played upon a chime of bells is almost marvelous, twelve bells allowing a no less number than 479,001,600.

In former times, it was a common belief that the ringing of bells would drive away demons and evil spirits. One old writer even asserting that if all the bells of England should be rung together at a certain hour the devil would have no abiding-place in all England!

Akin to superstition, there has always been a sincere affection connected with the chiming of bells. It is recorded of a friar, that upon the destruction of his monastery he regretted nothing so much as the loss of a favorite bell, which, after diligent search, he found had been removed to a village church. He then submitted to become a common laborer that he might end his days within the hearing of it. Even the ambitious Napoleon was ever deeply stirred at the sound of bells. "How often," says Bourrienne of the emperor, "has the booming of the village bell broken off the most interesting conversation!" the monarch refusing to move lest the action of the feet should interfere with the sacred sounds.

Formerly it was quite customary to ring bells to avert tempests, or to drive away pestilence. Even at present, in France, it is usual throughout the vine lands to ring the bells at the approach of storms, to break the clouds. In Switzerland, it is said that the muleteers, at certain passes, tie up their little bells, lest their tinkle should shake the delicately poised snow, and bring down an avalanche.

Most touching is the tradition told in connection with the peal in Limerick cathedral. 

It was said to have been brought from a convent in Italy, for which place it had been manufactured by an enthusiastic native with much labor and skill. The Italian, having acquired a competency, fixed his home on the convent cliff; and for many years enjoyed the chimes of his beloved bells. But in some political revolution, the monks were driven from the monastery, the Italian from his home, and the bellswere carried to the Emerald Isle. After a long interval the course of his wanderings brought him to Limerick. On a beautiful evening, as the vessel, which bore him floated on the Shannon, he suddenly heard the bells peal forth from the cathedral tower. They were the long-lost treasures of his memory! 

Home, happiness, friends, most tender recollections, were in their sounds. Crossing his arms on his breast, he lay back in the boat. When the rowers looked round they saw his face still turned toward the cathedral, but his eyes had closed forever on this world.

We will conclude this sketch with the apt remark of the noted Robert Southey: 

"Great are the mysteries of bell ringing. And this may be said in its praise, that of all devices which men have sought out for obtaining distinction by making a noise in the world, it is the most harmless."

G. W. A.


GRATEFUL thanks are hereby tendered to Messrs. MENEELY AND KIMBERLY, of Troy, N. Y., for the privilege of using the nice bell cuts in this number and the one following. It is also but just to add that the article accompanying them is largely drawn from their catalogue. Meneely and Kimberly are bell founders, a very old firm, of world-wide celebrity, whose sweet-toned bells, in all lands, daily celebrate the praises of their manufacturers. The excellent bell in the Battle Creek Tabernacle was purchased of this company. 



How many boys and girls know how the jingling sleigh-bells are made? 
How do you think the little iron ball gets inside the bell ? It is too big to be put in through the holes in the bell, yet it is inside. How did it get there?
This little iron ball is called the "jinglet." When you shake the bell it jingles. When the horse trots, the bells jingle, jingle. In making the bell, this jinglet is put inside a little ball of mud just the shape of the in- side of the bell. Then a mold is made just the shape of the outside of the bell. This mud ball, with the jinglet inside, is placed in the mold of the outside, and the melted metal is poured in, which fills up the space between the mud ball and the mold. 
When the mold is taken off, you see a sleigh-bell; but it will not ring, as it is full of dirt. The hot metal, however, dries the dirt of which the ball 
is made so that it can all be shaken out. After the dirt is all shaken out of the holes in the bell, the little iron jinglet will still be in the bell, and it will ring all right.