The origin of the term "chimola" is uncertain. It appears to have been used by the Meneely (Watervliet) bellfoundry in conjunction with chimes made of hemispherical bells. We have adopted the word for the same purpose.
Chimes of 4 to 20 hemispherical bells, the largest sometimes weighing more than 1200 pounds,
are known to have been made by the following English foundries:
- Blews made 1 (date unknown);
- Gillett & Bland made 1 in 1876;
- Gillett, Bland & Co. made 1 in 1878;
- Taylor made at least 4 of them between 1864 and 1875;
- Warner made at least a dozen of them between 1872 and 1904;
- Whitechapel made at least four dozen of them, first as C&G Mears (1842-61), later Mears & Stainbank (1867-1932).
Several more are unidentified and undated.
Five were also made by the Meneely/Watervliet foundry in America ("WT" below).
Hemispherical bells seem to have been produced and sold as a relatively inexpensive alternative to conventional tower bells. Also, they were lighter in weight, and thus could be fitted into towers for which conventional bells might not be suitable. They produce a pleasant, bell-like sound, but were never a great success.
North American chimolas are listed in order by year of installation.
OLD GREENWICH - B : USA - CT 1901 - Warner Chimes Building Tod's Point (Greenwich Point Park) PITTSBURGH - FB : USA - PA 1913 - M&S First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh (ABC) BROOKLYN - STTH : USA - NY 1924 - WT St.Thomas' Episcopal Church SCHENECTADY - UC : USA - NY 1925 - WT Memorial Chapel Cupola Union College WATERVLIET : USA - NY 1926 - WT Watervliet Historical Society relocated from Bangor PA in 2006, then from Fulton County NY in 2013 NEWARK - BSC : USA - NJ 1927 - WT Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church BROOKLYN - STBA : USA - NY 1928 - WT St.Bartholomew's Episcopal Church
For a list of present and former chimolas made in Great Britain, see Mike Chester's chime page. One sheet of his Excel workbook lists more than 70 chimes of hemispherical bells in England, plus about a dozen elsewhere.
Return to Indexes to chimes in North America.
This index page was built on 26-Aug-02 and last revised on 27-Jan-20.
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