Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Its good to make friends when you make custom bronze bells...

When you think of the Caribbean and/or the Mediterranean you may picture lounging about with a frosty beverage with a soft tropic breeze tickling your nose and the only sighs overheard are sighs of satisfaction as if no other place on earth could exist at that very moment, where the plant life seems to have more ambition than those of us who are "in the moment" and more satisfied with watching the waves shape the beach over and over, yet over again. That sound of water rolling gently, sand rubbing sand, lulls you ever so closer to drifting off with a smile across your sun-blocked lips and you could just stretch pleasurably if not for the clattering vision that begins to grab at your attention.
Now you see him. That bustling gentleman, dragging along a collapsible cart that chatters with every plank along the way. Here he stops and shakes a hand, here he presents a magazine. He seems to know everyone along the way and he probably does.
His name is Colin Squire and he is the busiest person around you no matter where you are. He is the publisher of Yachting Matters Magazine, hand delivered to every Captain, Crew Mate, and Yacht Owner that comes within twenty feet of this fast moving entrepreneur. His publications also include many supplements each designed for a specific need of the Yachting Trades.

I met Colin, with his empire on wheels, at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show Fall 2007. He wanted to introduce me to "Yachting Matters Magazine", I wanted to introduce him to our custom bronze bells and we quickly moved to a conversation that sounded as if he were interested in publishing an article about bells on ships and perhaps featuring the Bellingham Bell Company. I have to admit I was excited beyond belief and could not wait to tell anyone who would listen. A very short list, however when I returned to Maine I sent an email to remind Colin of our chance meeting and he invited me to actually write the article?
How generous I thought. What a man of honor I felt, a man who keeps his word, of integrity and, he what? Asked me to write the editorial?!
Writing a blog is one thing, writing an article for a magazine that will reach thousands of potential customers is another animal altogether and as excited as I had started out the fear of having no idea what to write about set in like acidic cement. But no worries! That's why Mr Squire is the publisher. His direction goaded me to action. His integrity caused me to reach out to a local newspaper Editor in Chief who graciously reviewed and "tweaked" my work and to my relief I found more and more confidence, even after Colin sent my work back time and again with more instructions.
Colin Squire, master of Squire Publishing, has included our article in the Spring edition of "Yachting Matters" Magazine. Secure yourself a copy and page through until finding, “The Ships Bell - From 1st millennium BC through the 21st Century, By Randy McKee".
If you are in the "Med" this season, or will find yourselves in Monaco, Dubai, Tarragona, Fort Lauderdale or just happen to see Colin on the street; poke out your hand and greet a true person, true - not because of the opportunity he gave to me, do it for the opportunity you'll find for yourself.

This Post was designed to say thank you to publisher, Colin Squire in a "public" forum.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Garden Bells by the Bellingham Bell Company

Congratulations to our client on their vision and trust, and to our artisans, bravo! on the "Grasshopper" or "Garden Bell"!

What a wonderful thing a Garden bell can be, there should be no limits on how we decorate her as a garden is a place to dream. A place for things both beautiful and useful, timeless and within reach to bring us joy.
We also do quite a few Estate or Cottage bells which tend to serve a common purpose. So many of our clients come to us for a bell to serve the most wonderful and mundane function, i.e., to bring people together. This is a use as ancient as a well cast bell, before electronic communication we used the bell to say, "...it is time to come together". That's a pretty good idea...

Friday, February 8, 2008

More about Custom ships bells...

Your answers to my call were fantastic so I have moved them from comments to this post as to what you think about bells:
LM in PR wrote:
The bell [reminds] me of my school days, where the nuns rang the bell for calling to class, playtime, lunch, and the best of the calls, get out of school. It also [reminds me of] church call and Sunday mass. However, the [inherent] symbolism of the bell to me is Liberty. I don’t use the bell on my boat, primarily because there is no fog in the Caribbean. However I do use the bell often to call my neighbors at my beach house for the 5:00PM cocktail, and it really works.
Capt. Charlie wrote:
What makes a bell important to me?The bell has always been a standard piece of equipment on a sea going vessel. It has only been in recent years that yachts kept them in a box instead of mounting them as required. The bell is a source that will make a sound to alert others in case of emergency or to gain simple attention. Basically, when all else fails, the bell will always sound.
What will I use the bell for?
In today's world of electronic sound producing components, a bell is nearly never used. The bell on our vessel is more for nautical esthetical appearance and sound producing is secondary.How does the bell make me feel?Like a true mariner.
How do others respond to the bell?Today's new crew never used a bell. They have only been exposed to electronic charting, hailing, etc. A bell to them is maintenance. Old school crew understand the value of having one on board and I myself have two. One chrome on the foredeck and a brass one on the aft deck to signal happy hour, meal time or get someone's attention the old fashioned way. By the way, I had the brass bell clear-coated in Oct 07 and it still looks great.
KB said...
In a politically correct world that is afraid to take sides, offend, or be too loud, the bell is an independent spirit that declares itself with confidence, clarity, and conviction. When I hear it, the bell's spirit reminds me of many souls that have used bells in their confident and often hard won quests. Each ring of a bell is like a human life in that it serves a lasting purpose and eventually fades back into the earth.
bells on Ships:
bells have a centuries-long tradition of varied use in the navies and merchantfleets of the world. Signaling, keeping time, and sounding alarms are important in aship's routine and readiness. Their functional and ceremonial uses have made them asymbol of considerable significance to the United States Navy.
Bells cast from metal were first developed in the Bronze Age, achieving aparticularly high level of sophistication in China. During the European Middle Ages,they were used by Christians to signal divine services and make specialannouncements. Christian and Buddhist monasteries historically used them to regulatedaily activity, conceptually similar to later timekeeping in the U.S. Navy. TheCatholics consider bells a representation of the voice of God and of paradise.One of the earliest recorded mentions of the shipboard bell was on the British shipGrace Dieu about 1485. Some ten years later an inventory of the English ship Regent reveals that this ship carried two "wache bells".
Before the advent of the chronometer time at sea was measured by the trickle of sandthrough a half - hour glass. One of the ship's boys had the duty of watching theglass and turning it when the sand had run out. When he turned the glass, he struckthe bell as a signal that he had performed this vital function. From this ringing ofthe bell as the glass was turned evolved the tradition of striking the bell once atthe end of the first half hour of a four hour watch, twice after the first hour,etc., until eight bells marked the end of the four hour watch. The process wasrepeated for the succeeding watches. This age-old practice of sounding the bell onthe hour and half hour has its place in the nuclear and missile oriented UnitedStates Navy at the dawn of the Twenty-First Century, regulating daily routine, justas it did on our historic vessels under sail in the late Eighteenth Century.
Safety and Communication:
The sounding of a ship's bell found a natural application as a warning signal toother vessels in poor visibility and fog. In 1676 one Henry Teonage serving as achaplain in the British Mediterranean Fleet recorded , "so great a fog that we werefain to ring our bells, beat drums, and fire muskets often to keep us from fallingfoul one upon another". Ringing a ship's bell in fog became customary. In 1858,British Naval Regulations made it mandatory in that function. Today, maritime lawrequires all ships to carry an efficient bell.American ships of the Revolutionary War period and our early national years adoptedmany of the practices and traditions of the British Royal Navy, including the use ofbells. In 1798, Paul Revere cast a bell weighing 242 pounds for the frigate Constitution, also known today by its nickname "Old Ironsides". It is of interest to note that the use of a ship's bell contributed to the richest single prize captured by the American Navy during the War of Independence. While a Continental Squadron under Commodore Whipple lay-to, wrapped in Newfoundland fog in a July morning in 1779, the sound of ships' bells and an occasional signal gun could be heard a short distance off. When the fog lifted the Americans discovered that they had fallen in with the richly-laden enemy Jamaica Fleet. Ten ships were captured as prizes, which - together with their cargo - were valued at more than a million dollars.
The bell is an essential link in a ship's emergency alarm system. In the event of a fire, the bell is rung rapidly for at least five seconds, followed by one, two or three rings to indicate the location of a fire - Forward, amidships, or aft respectively.
Navy Ceremonies and Events:
The bell is used to signal the presence of important persons. When the ship's captain, a flag officer, or other important person arrives or departs, watchstanders make an announcement to the ship and ring the bell. This tradition extends to major naval command transitions, often held aboard vessels associated with the command.
Bells in religious ceremonies:
The bell's connection to religious origins continues. Originating in the British Royal Navy, it is a custom to baptize a child under the ship's bell; sometimes thebell is used as a christening bowl, filled with water for the ceremony. Once the baptism is completed, the child's name may be inscribed inside the bell. The bell remains with the ship while in service and with the Department of the Navy after decommissioning. In this way, an invisible tie is created between the country, the ship and its citizens. Bells have been loaned or provided to churches as memorials to those vessels; this practice has been discontinued in favor of displaying bells with namesake states or municipalities, with museums, and with naval commands and newer namesake vessels.
Maintenance and upkeep:
Traditionally, the bell is maintained by the ship's cook, while the ship's whistle is maintained by the ship's bugler. In actual practice, the bell is maintained by a person of the ship's division charged with the upkeep of that part of the ship where the bell is located. In such a case a deck seaman or quartermaster striker or signalman striker may have the bell-shining duty.
Disposition and continuing Navy use:
In addition to its shipboard roles, the bell serves a ceremonial and memorial function after the ship has served its Navy career. U.S. Navy bells are part of the many artifacts removed from decommissioned vessels preserved by the Naval Historical Center. They may be provided on loan to new namesake ships; naval commands with anhistorical mission or functional connection; and to museums and other institutions that are interpreting specific historical themes and displays of naval history. Bells remain the permanent property of the US Government and the Department of the Navy. These serve to inspire and to remind our naval forces and personnel of their honor, courage, and commitment to the defense of our nation. Bells remain a powerful and tangible reminder of the history, heritage, and accomplishments of the naval service.
WJHT said:
I just received the "Josetke" Bell and it is absolutely beautiful, all I had hoped for. Many thanks to your artists.I will send you a picture after the bell has been installed (the boat is in san Diego at the moment).Meanwhile, I would like you to know the importance of the bell to me. "Josetke" was my wife's nickname. We were both born in Antwerp. We were married for forty years, sharing many adventures throughout the world. Tragically, my wife and companion passed away six years ago. So, the bell is in her memory...WJHT
JH said:
When it comes to the subject of the bell for the YP 655 (now St. Elias) I had Bellingham commissioned to make this !2" bell with the YP 655 embossed in military block lettering as it was the boats number while it was in service at Annapolis Naval Academy. There are so few character boats which when you see them one knows that they are looking at something that stands out in a crowd. So it is with the St. Elias as every attempt has been made to keep her as original military look on the outside while the interior has all the comforts of any home. The boat has a place on the fly bridge just forward of the main mast where the bell should go. As one might expect the bell went the way to unknown sources during a brief moth ball stage. I am quite sure that some pawn shop near San Diego CA naval base saw it pass through! I still maintain the eight signal halyards and one gaff halyard to a yardarm along with a fife rail complete with brass belaying pins which leaves it which that "Old Tin Can Navy" look, and it is only befitting that it should have a proper bell to complete that look. The bell was delivered to the boat on the West Coast and the former owner was there to take delivery of the bell. I called Tony and asked him how the bell came out and his comment to me was "That's not a bell! That's a piece of art!" The bell weighs 52 pounds and gives it that throaty sound which can be heard two valleys over. I must say that the bell exceeds my best expectations. Thank You Bellingham, JH - St. Elias

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tell me what you think about bells...

Hello Folks,

As valued clients and/or friends of the Bellingham Bell Company I am turning to you all in a time of need. I have been asked to write an article regarding the bell, its history, its historical uses and most importantly; here is where you all come in, what importance and what role does the modern bell play in your experience?

The article, if worthy, will be published firstly in “Yachting Matters” a limited print Bi-Annual publication (roughly 2-3000 copies) distributed by hand to Yachts crews and owners in the Caribbean and Mediterranean. Many of you own yachts, large or modest, some of you serve in our Armed Services and the one thing you have in common would be that for some significance you wished to possess a bell and use it in your own unique way.

So what I am asking you all to do? Please post your Comments ANONYMOUSLY Here with your thoughts on bells as they serve you today. Here are some bullet points to consider in your response:

What makes a bell important to me?
What will I use the bell for?
How does the bell make me feel?
How do others respond to the bell?