About the Bells

The "Bells of Old South College" were first installed in 1918, and became the Wesleyan Carillon in 2005 with the addition of eight new bells.  Wesleyan's sixteen-bell chime (an instrument comprised of 9-22 bells) was upgraded to be a twenty-four bell carillon (an instrument with 23 or more bells).  It became the eleventh carillon in the state of Connecticut, and one of nearly 180 in North America.

The largest bell (the low C) weighs 2,700 pounds and has a diameter of 48 inches.  The smallest bell (the high D) weighs 75 pounds.  All of the bells are composed of bronze alloy of about 78% copper and 22% tin.

The bells are played by depressing batons (similar in size and shape to the ends of broom handles) that are attached to wires that run upwards from the playing console to the belfry.  The wires are attached to clappers inside each bell. These clappers strike the bell when the baton is played.  The bells remain stationary as the music is played and only the clappers move to ring the bells.

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More information

For more information about carillons please visit the Guild of Carillonneurs of North America (GCNA) website or Wikipedia.

Many carillons hold summer concert series with carillonneurs visiting from around the globe.  In Connecticut, one can visit the carillons at other campuses including Yale University in New Haven, Trinity College in Hartford, and UConn in Storrs, as well as area churches in West Hartford, New Britain, New Canaan, and more.