Carillon Restoration for the Ages

A 57 bell carillon restoration for the ages. In 2021, The Verdin Company completed a restoration for First-Plymouth Congregational Church. Located in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Church features a 171 foot tower. Originally installed in 1931 with 48 bells, the carillon still contains 20 original bells.

The recent restoration was much needed. After a routine check on the Church’s practice carillon, it was easy to see corrosion was starting to set in. The bells were then taken back to the Verdin factory. Work on this instrument includes…

  • Bell frame repairs.
  • Sandblast, galvanize and paint.
  • New cast iron clappers.
  • Lastly, other upgrades to maintain its beautiful sound

Below are some before and after pictures of the carillon.

In this photo, you can see multiple bells with the old clappers. Attached to the clappers is the cables used to play the instrument.

After the restoration, here is what the new clappers look like! They were installed on 17 of the bells.

Next, this rusted support plate is certainly not what you want to see.

Here are the new support plates that were installed on 16 of the bells.

The clappers, support plates and other bell equipment parts, coupled with the carillonneur, create music for the community to enjoy. Yes, the carillon is still hand played by a carillonneur! First, they climb the 100 step, spiral stair case, then play for all to hear. The carillon is played once a week and was even played throughout the COVID pandemic.

Make sure to check out the article and video by Nebraska Public Media. It features an interview with President Tim Verdin and you can hear the beautiful sound of this instrument.

The Verdin Company is happy to help the tower sing and give the gift of bells to Lincoln, Nebraska. This truly is a carillon restoration for the ages.

See more on bells and carillons on our website!

Historical Cast Bells

Six generations of Verdin amounts to many historical cast bells. The Verdin Company recently acquired a post card sent to customers in 1961 off of Ebay. This historical piece encouraged us to remember bells cast throughout the years. From smooth cast to decorative embossed bells, take a look at some beautiful bronze bells from the past.

World Peace Bell

A symbol of peace and freedom, the World Peace Bell sits across the river from Cincinnati in Newport, Kentucky. Elevated in the air, the bell weighs an extraordinary 66,000 pounds! This makes it the largest swinging bell in the world. Cast into the bronze are signs and words of peace such as human figures holding hands. Designed and installed in 1999, Verdin has continued maintenance for 20+ years.

Honor Bell

Cast in 2015, the Honor Bell is “Forged from Honor” to remember our nations service members. It is quit literally, forged from honor with military medals incorporated into the bell, mixed with the typical bronze. Decorated with etched inscriptions, the bell features words of dedication and 7 stars. One star is cast-in (raised) to signify active duty service members killed in action and reflect on the value of the life that was given. This is one of more Honor Bells to come.

Verdin 175th Anniversary Bell

This 1,000 pound embossed bell features historical milestones to The Verdin Company. Cast-in around the bell are representations of different events throughout our history. Some include Verdin’s first clock and bell installation, the Ohio bicentennial and move of the foundry. At the top of the bell is the crown. In addition, the crown includes six sets of hands for each generation of the Verdin Family that worked full time in the company up until 2017. Check out this video to see more on the Anniversary Bell!

Paul Revere Bell

Also 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. However, the Project Architect recommended that the Friends of the Truro Meeting House and the First Congregational Parish of Truro contact The Verdin Company. Verdin inspected the bell on site and developed a plan to repair, protect, and preserve it for the future.

Spirit of Iowa

With help from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Iowa had their own in state casting at the 2017 State Fair with the use of Verdin’s Bell Foundry on Wheels. The bell itself is portable, made to travel to different communities and tell stories of Iowa Veterans. Embossed and cast into the bell are the words “Spirit of Iowa”, along with six stars and other state symbols. The custom blue paint compliments the other cast-in designs..

The Verdin Company makes products that stand the test of time. The impact a bell has, even years after it is cast, is always wonderful to see. From the first electronic swinging bell, to the restoration of a historic bell, history never dies.

Electronic Carillon Bells Wow a Community

The addition of new electronic carillon bells creates nothing but positive chatter in Waynesville, Missouri! In a small town of 5,000 with many churches, Westside Baptist Church is the first in the community with a bell/chime system. Back in February of 2021, they had hired the Verdin Company to install the Adagio II carillon system.

This would not have been possible without the donor family. Sherye Sharp and her sisters donated the carillon in their father’s name who passed away recently. As a result, the project moved forward.

“My father was very open about his faith and his love for our country. We daughters feel the bell/chimes give him a voice to proclaim this…” Sherye wrote to The Verdin Company.

The Sharp family are not the only people in the community to notice the beautiful sounds from Westside Baptist Church. Similarly, patrons and citizens enjoy the new music. From signing in the church parking lot, to listening in the park, the sounds can be heard across town.

“Many have remarked about the peaceful, calming nature of the music, and how it adds to their Sunday worship experience. Some have been seen singing along with the song in the parking lot.  They are certainly a bright spot in this increasingly dark and chaotic world.”

The sisters not only heard positive feedback by word of mouth, but by letters and notes.

“I received a handwritten note from a women that lives close to the church saying how she often stopped what she was doing at home to listen… Others have said they stop their yard work to listen, or they just make a point to step outside to listen”, Sherye writes.

This is the second story we have shared recently where a community gives high praise to the Adagio II carillon system. In addition we received positive remarks from Woodlawn Cemetery Chapel in Canandaigua, NY.

The Verdin Company is ecstatic to here good news about the Adagio II from Westside Baptist Church as well. It shows the impact of the sound of bells on a community, even if through an electronic carillon system. Furthermore, we hope the joyous sounds uplift the community for decades to come.

Click here to learn more about electronic carillon bells!

Oakland City University dedicates clock and bell tower

Campus is a special place

A campus is a place of interwoven experiences, a place to live, learn, work and play. It’s a place to fall in love and a place to build lifelong friendships. The community of students, staff, faculty and alumni connect with the school history and traditions. These are embraced as a basis of pride and distinction.

Traditions, old and new, make it special

The Verdin Company shares with honor this story of Oakland City University which trusted us to enhance their special campus. How? with the installation of Verdin custom manufactured 50′ clock and bell tower. Talk about tradition! The tower was recently dedicated in the name of Jerry Phillips, Class of 1959, and professor from 1963 until retirement in 2001.

This excerpt from the invocation prayer by Dr. Douglas Low, Dean of the Seminary, illustrates how such installations inspire campus communities.

“We seek to honor your servant, Jerry Phillips, who spent hours upon hours in work on this campus…

May this Clock now mark the minutes and hours of our service here, reminding us as we pass by, of the passing of time; the bells asking us to check the quality of our obedience, and alerting us to measure our minutes by acts of integrity, justice, and loving-kindness.

May its music gladden our steps and encourage us to be cheerful givers of our time to each other and to our students, and amid all our duties may its songs remind us to offer you praise for having given us this moment to live and to love.”

This article covering the dedication by 14News contains video of the dedication and quotes Dr. Ron Dempsey, the President of Oakland City University,
“Clearly, it’s going to be the iconic structure on campus. As you come up the entrance, it’s the first thing you’re going to see. Also, I think it adds an even more collegiate feel to the University.”

With appreciation

We are grateful to President Dempsey and Oakland State University, for your trust to manufacture and install this one-of-a-kind tower.

The Verdin Company has partnered with more than 1,000 colleges and universities – big and small – to create treasured campus landmarks. If you’d like to learn more about our campus work click through!

Verdin exhibits at first virtual PGA Merchandise Show

The Verdin Company is excited to participate in the first virtual PGA Merchandise Show taking place January 26-29, 2021. Some of the finest clubs & resorts in the world are graced by a golf course clock by Verdin.

In the 15+ years we’ve been attending the PGA Merchandise Show, countless customers report that they chose our clock for their club because of Verdin’s quality.

Verdin clocks are a popular way for golf courses to
* build branding
* commemorate anniversaries
* and create focal points for golf courses.

We look forward to meeting new, potential customers at the online show!

Verdin Restores Landmark in the City of Waterloo, Ontario

After 15 years of silence, The Verdin Company proudly renovated the 18 bronze bell chime known as the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Timeteller in the City of Waterloo and the City of Kitchener in Ontario. Now, thousands of songs will ring out from the chime that also has a newly built bandshell decorated with motifs and scenes from Waterloo County’s heritage.   Give a listen!

The Timeteller has been a landmark that welcomes visitors into the city of Waterloo and the City of Kitchener, Ontario, since 1984. In honor of the 50th Anniversary of The Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, the entire structure has been restored. Inside are computerized audio-animatronics in the form of a miniature band and dancers. Action, music and the light show are synchronized by the computer and can be adapted to the occasion or season.

The German-Canadian icon is programmed for seasonal music and lighting ensuring audience interest and making it a destination for the entire family.

Barrie’s newest landmark

The four-faced, 18-foot tall post clock was installed in Barrie, Ontario, Canada to honor Canada’s 150th birthday and the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International’s 100th anniversary. The clock has become Barrie’s newest landmark and completes a revamped waterfront that includes a new footbridge, separate bike path and extended boardwalk.

“We are thrilled with the public support of this initiative,” project co-chairperson Arlette Utton said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the citizens of Barrie to participate in this community project and leave their mark.”

At the base of the post clock are more than 1,000 personalized granite bricks that were sold to fund the cost of the entire waterfront project.

Verdin is a licensed vendor of Rotary post clocks and tower clocks.

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.

Custom golf course post clocks

Verdin signature and custom course clocks have been featured at some of the most recognized golf courses and country clubs in the U.S.

Learn more about one of our golf course clocks at Old York Road Country Club and how they were able to create a successful campaign that raised the funds to install a championship golf clock for their Centennial.

Read more »


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.