Power of Bells

The power of bells rings loud across Lisle, Illinois!

This past Easter, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church unveiled their new bell tower to the community, thanks to an anonymous donor. This unique tower shows the beauty of the refurbished bells with its open and “arch” like design.

The Church has acquired and had in their possession five historical bells. “For so many years our people… thought of them as anachronistic decorations,” said Father of St. Joan of Arch. “When they heard them ring… they recognized that these were living symbols that have a profound impact on the religious psyche of a community.” Two bells are from the parish by the Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery. A fourth bell was given to the parish by Monks of St. Procopius Abbey and the fifth recently was donated by the Lisle Heritage Society. Therefore, it was time to provide the bells a home together. But first, the refurbishment of the bells to show their true colors and inscriptions.

Possibly one of the most interesting parts of this project is the inscription on the largest bell. A rough translation of the Czech text inscribed reads as followed…

Oh, the sacred and godly bell!

As your heart begins to beat in you

Let the hearts of all drown in prayer

May your clear sound protect everyone!

When your voice in the temple is called to godliness

Let the people draw before the alter with sweet power

Blessed dreams would flow to the couple

May your prayer reach God

And the soul you have ring to the edge

Your music will accompany the gate to Heaven.

This truly shows the power of bells to the faithful.

The custom arch like tower stands 25 feet tall and houses all 5 bells, side by side. Each bell has the ability to swing, and the largest bell can also toll with an outside striker. With a long roof to top off the tower, and two legs, the horizontal structure is one of the more unique towers you will find.

The Verdin Company is happy to have created this landmark for you community. We hope the bells continue to serve as the “Voice of God”, and the presence of St. Joan of Arc is heard.

See a video of the manufacturing process on our YouTube!

Bell and Carillon Projects – Featured 2021

The year 2021 brought some pretty unforgettable bell and carillon projects for The Verdin Company. These are just a few. The five customers featured recently held dedications for important restorations and new bell ringing equipment projects and/or installations.

Historic church bells note city anniversary

There is more than one way to preserve the sound of historic church bells. These in a decorative clock tower to note a city Anniversary is one we love at The Verdin Company.

Historic Bells Restored thanks to Donor!

The generosity of a donor helps the Nativity of Mary Parish (St. Mary’s) restore their historic bells! In early 2021, Carol Berner decided to make a generous donation to complete the bell restoration project. The donation is in honor of her late husband who passed just last year.

Bell Restoration after 60 Ft. Fall from Tower

Disaster struck Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Easton, MN in September of 2018 when a large storm swept through the area. The top of the church tower ended up flat on the ground along with all three bells. This required a complete bell restoration. Pictures of the damage can be seen on Our Lady of Mt. Carmel’s Website.

A Hershey’s KISSES Bell for Hershey Park – Chocolate Town

A bronze bell made in the iconic shape of HERSHEY’s KISSES? Yes!

The Verdin Company designed, cast and installed this beauty for Hershey’s Chocolatetown, an all new region at Hersheypark, where fun meets chocolate.  It opened the summer of 2020 in, where else? Hershey, PA.

We are honored to do such work and we are are proud to share these photos!  Why? Because, they show the artistry, craftsmanship, and innovation, that The Verdin Company puts into each and every project we create.

We love what we do!

HERSHEY KISS bell at its final home

The KISSES Bell made by The Verdin Company at its final home!

Casting the HERSHEY KISS bell at The Verdin Company Factory

Casting the KISSES Bell at The Verdin Company Factory.

Casting the HERSHEY KISS bell

Casting the KISSES Bell.

HERSHEY KISS bell breakout

Breakout of the KISSES Bell bell from the mold. Looks like it might be chocolate!

The HERSHEY KISS bell prior to final polish

The KISSES Bell prior to final polish.

Final polish of the HERSHEY KISS bell begins.

Final polish of the KISSES Bell begins…

...and continues until...

…and continues until…

the HERSHEY KISS bell polish is complete!

the KISSES Bell polish is complete!

The completely polished HERSHEY KISS bell...

The completely polished KISSES Bell…

...with it's plume and hanger! Ready to ship.

…with it’s plume and hanger! Ready to ship.

The HERSHEY KISS BELL at Hershey's Chocolate World.

The KISSES Bell at Home.

View more Bronze Bell work by The Verdin Company  here and in this images gallery.

Are the bells in your tower safe?

Many churches, towns, and colleges have made big investments in bells.

While bells will last for decades, the bolts, hardware, clappers, as well as the supporting structure and tower itself, are subject to weather, temperature extremes, and normal wear and tear.

When was the last time you inspected your bells for safety?

Verdin’s “Are the bells in your tower safe?” guide provides a checklist of important items that should be checked every year. Download this guide now to help ensure the safety of your bells. Taking care of your bells also ensures your bells are safe and will ring joyfully for years to come.

Verdin family has over 200 years of combined experience to help.

Let us know if you would like more information or would like us to help you evaluate the safety of your bells. Contact us with any questions you may have about bell safety. Contact Verdin to discuss your bell needs.

The story of ‘BIG JOE’

On October 30, 1895, the largest bell in America was cast. The clapper alone weighs 640 pounds. The weight of the bell itself is 27,390 pounds; the weight of the mountings takes the total weight to 35,000 pounds. The bell hangs in the tower of St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, and when installed was the largest swinging church bell in the world.

BIG JOE has been tolling the hours and calling parishioners to St. Francis de Sales in Cincinnati, Ohio for nearly 120 years. The largest swinging bell ever cast in the United States, BIG JOE occupies an entire floor of the Church’s 230-foot stone steeple. BIG JOE is named after Joseph T. Buddeke, a St. Francis de Sales parishioner who was the largest donor towards its casting and installation. The cost of the project was between $12,000 and $15,000 (a very large sum in 1895). BIG JOE was intended to be equal in size and a replication of BIG BEN in London. The only difference between the two bells is that BIG BEN never did swing.

BIG JOE was raised into the belfry by horses.

The awesome task of casting BIG JOE was bestowed upon the E.W. VanDuzen Company, a well-known foundry on Second Street at Broadway in Cincinnati. On October 30, 1895, the largest church bell in America was cast. It took 41 minutes to pour the metal. The bell measures seven feet from rim to crown, with a diameter of nine feet at the base. It weighs an enormous 35,000 pounds. The clapper alone weighs 640 pounds. When completed, it required 14 horses to haul BIG JOE up Gilbert Avenue to St. Francis De Sales Church.

BIG JOE at St. Francis de Sales Parish

From there, the story of BIG JOE remains somewhat of a mystery. Legend has it that BIG JOE was rung for the first time in early January, 1896. People say its E-flat peal could be heard for a 15-mile radius. It rattled nearby buildings, shattering windows in the neighborhood. Alvin Harlow, a Cincinnati historian, said: “It was installed, it swung, and all of Walnut Hills nearly jumped out of its collective skin. The earth trembled, windows nearby broke from the concussion, and tiny bits of cement were seen falling from between the stones of the church tower.”

After just one ringing, the story goes, it was decided that BIG JOE must never swing again, so the Church immobilized the bell. Now, a Verdin foot hammer strikes the edge of the bell, just as it has for the past century. Albeit more quietly, BIG JOE still does his job. At 6:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, and 6:00 p.m., BIG JOE rings The Angelus, the Westminster chimes and hour strikes, and funeral tolls. Four smaller bells are mounted on the floor above and join in on the ringing. The Verdin Company has provided the service and maintenance for BIG JOE and the peal of bells at St. Francis de Sales for decades.

Cracked mission bell recast from original bell

Verdin cast a replica bell (left) to replace the cracked bell at the Mission San Antonio de Padua (right). The old bell was used as the pattern to create an exact replica. The original bronze bell in the center niche of the campanaro was cast especially for this mission and is the first mission bell made in California. It is 24 inches in diameter and weighs 500 pounds.

Located on eighty pristine acres, Mission San Antonio de Padua sits within the “Valley of the Oaks” on California’s scenic Central Coast. Founded as California’s third mission in 1771, it has been said that of all the California missions, San Antonio de Padua is virtually unchanged for more than two centuries.

Restoring cracked bell cast by Paul Revere

In 2017, a restored Revere Bell was reinstalled at the Truro Meeting House. The Revere Bell restoration was necessary due to a previously failed repair attempt of a crack on the crown portion of the bell. Historical castings are very difficult to weld when the exact alloy is not known.