From ringing rope to linear motors

Whereas in earlier days the sacristan had to climb up to the church tower and pull the bell rope by hand whenever a bell had to be rung, nowadays bells are generally rung automatically at the desired times.


In church towers, a bevy of ringing systems are still active from past epochs, ranging from Post WW II electro-mechanical ringing machines all the way to highly modern electronic control systems.


As anyone who has ever rung a bell by hand knows, regular, beautiful ringing is not as simple as it looks. From a technical point of view, the bell behaves just like a pendulum and the clapper inside it like another pendulum, making it a pendulum inside a pendulum. Depending on the size of the bell and the type of headstock carrying it, well timed movements are required as well as a change of direction at the correct moment. In the case of a ‘free flying’ clapper, the clapper should ‘kiss’ the bell just before it changes direction.