BELL, a hollow vessel, which, by its vibra tions when struck, gives forth sounds; whence its name, from the old Saxon word bellan, to bawl or bellow. It is an instrument of great antiquity, being spoken of by Hebrew writers, as in Exodus xxviii, where golden bells are pre scribed as appendages to the dress of the high priest, that notice may thus be given of his approach to the sanctuary. And at this day the bell is used for a similar purpose before the priest, in Roman Catholic countries, as he pro ceeds to administer the Holy Viaticum to the soul that is passing away; and so when the bell is tinIcled, in administering the sacrament, by the same priest, it is in pursuance of a CDS tom founded on the ancient Hebrew use of the bell. More intimately than any other instru ment are bells associated with the religious and imaginative, as also with the most joyous and the saddest feelings of mankind. The metal from which bells are usually made (by found ing), is an alloy, called bell-metal, commonly composed of 80 parts of copper and 20 of tin. The proportion of tin varies, however, from one-third to one-fifth of the weight of the cop per, according to the sound required, the size of the bell and the impulse to be given. The clearness and richness of the tone depend upon the metal used, the perfection of its casting, and also upon its shape; it having been shown by a number of experiments that the well-known shape with a thick lip is the best adapted to give a perfect sound. The depth of the tone of a bell increases in proportion to its size. A bell is divided into the body or barrel, the ear or cannon, and the clapper or tongue. The lip or sound bow is that part where the bell is struck by the clapper.
The sound of a bell is a compound tone, pre senting five and in many instances more notes to the ear. There is a great difference between the harmonics of a bell and of a vibrating string. In the case of the former a minor third is not infrequently one of the loudest tones next to the fundamental tone. When a bell is properly struck the first note which attracts the atten tion of the ear is known as the strike note, tap note or fundamental, and forms what is called •thep note of the bell. The low sound heard after the strike note has lost its intensity is called the hum note, and the octave above the strike note the nominal. There are also present a minor third and a perfect fifth in the first octave, and a major third and a perfect fifth in the second octave. Very few bells agree with these conditions. Generally the hum note is a sixth or seventh, and in rare cases a ninth below the strike note. The nominal is some where about an octave or a ninth above the strike note, and the other notes diverge accord ingly. Bells that are swung are more likely to
conform to the conditions than those that are struck.
Bells were used very early in the form of cymbals and hand bells in religions services. In Egypt the feast of Osiris was announced through the ringing of bells. Bronze bells have been found in Assyria. Bells of gold were worn by Aaron and the high priests of the Jews on the border of their robes, and in Athens the priests of Cybele used them in their offerings. The Romans also used bells which they called tintinabula, to announce the public assemblies, and, according to Suetonius, Augustus had a bell suspended before the temple of Jupiter. In the Christian churches a similar custom early came into use, though it is not lcnown that in the first Christian churches divine service was announced by any such method. They were used, however, in the early monasteries to announce the hours of prayer. Generally they were made of tubes struck with a hammer. They are said to have been first introduced into Christian churches about 400 A.D , by Paulinus, bishop of Nola in Campania (whence campana and nola as old names of bells); although their adoption on a wide scale does not become apparent until after the year 550, when they were introduced into France. They are rung to summon monks and choir nuns to the office, and the people to mass, to announce the Ange lus, to toll during funerals and peal on occa sions of joy. They are blessed with elaborate ceremonies and consecrated or "baptized" in honor of some saint.
Until the 13th century they were of com paratively small size, but after the casting of the Jacqueline of Paris (6% tons) in 1400, their weight rapidly increased. Among the more famous bells are the bell of Cologne, 11 tons, 1448; of Dantzic, 6 tons, 1453; of Halber stadt, 7%, 1457; of Rouen, 16, 1501; of Bres lau, 11, 1507; of Lucerne, 7%, 1636; of Oxford, 7%, 1680; of Paris, 12* 1680; of Bruges,
1680; of Vienna, 174, 1711; of Moscow (the monarch of all bells) 193, 1736; three other bells at Moscow ranging from 16 to 31 tons, and a fourth of 80 tons, cast in 1819; the bell of Lincoln (Great Tom), 5%, 1834; of York Minster (Great Peter), 10X, 1845; of Montreal, 13%, 1847i of Westminster (Big Ben), 15%, 1856; Saint Stephen, 13%, 1858; the great bell of Saint Paul's, 17%, 1882. Oth ers are the bells of Ghent, 5; Gorlitz, 1034; Saint Peter's, Rome, 8; Antwerp, 7%; Olmiitz, 18; Brussels, 7; Novgorod, 31; Pekin, 53%. (See BELLS; CHIMES). Consult Gatty, 'The Bell: Its Origin and Uses' (1848) ; Lukis, 'Church Bells and Their Founders' (1857) Andrews, 'History of Church Bells' (1885 Otte,