A 4,000 lb. Meneely Bell Company bell: tuned and equipped with new full swinging mountings being tested before shipment from our foundry

Our manufacturing facility at Georgetown is equipped to build all types of bell hardware, chime and carillon actions, carillon and chime keyboards...in short, everything that is necessary for the complete renovation of bells: single church bells, peals of bells, chimes or carillons.

Single Bell and Peal Renovation
While bells will last virtually indefinitely, bell mounting hardware and ringing equipment generally will have to be renewed each 50 to 75 years to keep bells ringing safely and efficiently, and with the best sound. Bell hardware is exposed to the elements continuously. The use of stainless steel bolts, sealed ball bearings and other features of the present day helps insure that bells renovated will be ringing long into the future, with minimal maintenance attention.

A deteriorated cone yoke
Broken clapper springs and deteriorated interior hardware
Cone top bell faced flat and drilled for auxiliary bolts; mounted on new custom made yoke

Swinging bells will often need replacement of deteriorated, broken or worn out yokes, clappers and other fittings; clapper springs are often found broken or missing; wood wheels are generally rotted, broken or otherwise unfit for further use. Meeks, Watson & Company can custom design and build new hardware for any bell, including those having crowns, fitting these bells for long future service.

Broken cast iron yoke:
unsafe to use!
New Meeks Watson custom yoke close-up
A Stuckstede bell with complete new MW swinging mountings

When providing new hardware for swinging church bells, it is always best if the bell can be shipped to us, so that we may fit yokes, clappers and other bell hardware precisely to the bell, and fully test and adjust the bell in its new mountings. With the bell in our facility at Georgetown, we have available the large machine tools, such as the vertical boring mills, radial drills and the like, which enable us to true up bell tops to achieve the best balance, and to drill auxiliary bolt holes where needed to secure the bell to the yoke in the safest way. We can also offer tuning services to improve the tone of any bell, which is especially desirable where future additions of bells are contemplated.

An 1847 Andrew Meneely bell with four-loop crown fitted with new custom mountings

Where the appearance of the bell or bells is an important feature of the architecture of the building, we can clean and refinish bells while in our foundry for refitting.

Chime & Carillon Renovations

Chimes of bells as well as carillons are often found to require rehanging of the bells, because of deterioration of the support bolts; sometimes wooden bell frames are found that are rotten, and often frame bolts are rusted to a dangerous degree.

The rusting of bell bolts is particularly insidious, as the worst deterioration takes place where the bolt passes through the bell head, where it cannot be seen unless the bell is taken down.
A chime bell in a deteriorating bell frame
Steel frames often exhibit rust jacking, causing misalignments, as well as serious reduction of factors of safety. A new Meeks, Watson & Company structural steel bellframe is generally much the best solution in these cases.
Some examples of badly deteriorated bolts
Rust jacking of a bell beam plate
A new chime frame under construction
Bells being rehung in new carillon frame

We are also able to improve placment of bells, for both acoustic and mechanical (action) improvement, at the same time, and this applies very much also to carillons. Improving bell arrangements in new bell frames can result in great gains in terms of action sensitivity at the keyboard. An example is where original bell locations require excessively long clapper wires which droop and “gallop”, resulting in poor control for the carillonneur.

Bells too far from their actions: rows too long:
clapper wires much too long
A better solution: Bells rearranged in
short rows, close to their actions

Clappers are generally found worn very flat, beyond regrinding; and old worn out headpieces that permit clappers to swing sideways and increase the clapper and bell wear, while producing a faulty tone may be replaced with our superior sealed ball bearing clapper suspension headpieces with great improvement in tone and operation.

A badly worn and rusted clapper
New headpieces being fabricated
A new clapper fitted to a tuned chime bell

Pulley chime actions are found to be deteriorated, as are cable, chain and wooden rod type chime connections; while replacing pulleys with our latest type, incorporating sealed stainless steel ball bearings in a special radial mount, rotted and cracked wood pulley shelves are replaced with a custom designed structural steel pulley frame, giving also the opportunity of improving pull lines providing a better playing touch.

Old pulley chime action using chains
New pulley action frame with ball bearing pulleys and stainless cable connections

In carillons, the replacement of transmission actions with open bearings will bring the improvement of using sealed stainless steel bearings not requiring frequent cleaning and greasing. We do not recommend the use of any type of weights, whether counter-weights, to lighten the touch, or return weights for treble bells. Counter weights render the touch sluggish, and the tone muddy; return weights on small bells increase the dwell time of the clappers, choking the ring of the bells. Good adjustable carillon springs and the complete removal of any weights is the solution. The redesign of action framing to a point-to-point configuration, shortening transmission bars and providing bearing support immediately adjacent each action arm will produce great benefits in controllability. Where possible, the bell arrangement may often be revised to permit the use of radial action to eliminate transmission bar torque completely. In both types of actions, Meeks, Watson & Company actions provide much improved touch, with a light, responsive feel for the performer at the keyboard.

Example of Dutch type open bearing transmission bar action
Example of G&J type open hook bearing action
Example of Dutch directed crank action with return weights
Meeks Watson sealed ball bearing radial action in a carillon renovation; new phosphor-bronze return springs with stainless adjustment spindles may also be seen

Chime and carillon keyboards of good original manufacture, that have been taken care of over the years, can often be improved and updated with good effect; however, for many old keyboards an assessment has to be made as to whether the cost of renovation would not be better applied to replacement with a new keyboard, incorporating all the innovations that make Meeks, Watson & Company keyboards the World Standard of quality keyboard construction. We have built new or replaced existing keyboards for more than a quarter of North American carillons over the past 15 years, a record unmatched by any other firm.

An old Van Bergen keyboard
New keyboards under construction in our shop

New keyboard being installed
(Marquette University)
New Keyboard, St George's, Guelph, Ont.


We are known throughout North America, and indeed, around the World, for our many carillon and chime renovation projects, a great many of which have been for world-famous institutions. Our renovation clients have included Cornell University, Kirk in the Hills, Clemson University, Texas Tech University, St. George’s Church--Guelph, Middlebury College, Marquette University, The Mercersburg Academy, Christ Church Cranbrook, Choate--Rosemary Hall, and many others. Several of these are described in detail elsewhere on our site...Please visit our Featured Projects

Electric, Pneumatic and Automatic Bell Operating Equipment

Although swinging peals and church bells can be restored to be rope rung, we can also outfit them with Meeks, Watson & Company electric and automatic operating equipment; we build electric swinging ringers in all sizes, and electric internal and external strikers. For chimes and carillons, we can also furnish our pneumatic playing apparatus where desired, to provide remote and/or automatic playing. We furnish a computer-based control system, having proprietary software that has been written to be intuitive and easy to use, while being extremely flexible as to scheduling. These systems are perfect to replace older automatic player units that no longer work, or which are not supported by their original makers with service and replacement parts. Our system can often be installed to get the bells ringing again quite economically, and can be maintained in the future by any competent IT staff person, or local computer repair facility. It is not necessary to send us the equipment, nor to have one of our service technicians call.

Please visit our featured Projects