Gillett & Johnston (Croydon) Ltd Makers of Ellacombe Chime Apparatus
We recently had an enquiry for information regarding an Ellacombe chime apparatus that Gillett & Johnston Made for a church in 1879. These are very rare and so I had to know more and stumble upon a record in our 1906 catalogue;
‘To bring out the full tune of a bell it should be swung in its frame. The effect of this is to throw out the vibrations in all directions and to increase the apparent volume of sound, but though not so effective as “ringing” (when the bells are swung in a frame), the use of our Ellacombe Apparatus fitted to a peal will enable one person alone to “chime” or play tunes on the bells. In this case the latter can be hung “dead” and the expense of ringing frames will be avoided. “
The Ellacombe apparatus looked similar to a church organ and were able to be placed in the main church with ropes travelling up through the ceiling to the bells reducing the need to climb many stairs to gain access to the bells. The ropes were taut, and pulling one of the ropes towards the operator would strike the hammer against the bell. By installing an Ellacombe installation you would also only need to hang the bells as static as the hammer only struck against the inside of the bell.
The system was devised by Reverend Henry Thomas Ellacombe in 1821. The rumour is that he created this device in order to prevent unruly bell-ringers from being needed.
Sadly alot of Churches have since had The Ellacombe apparatus removed, but there are still visible holes in the ceiling which the ropes would have come through into the ringing chamber, and often the frames are still in the ringing chamber, without ropes.
For more information about Gillett & Johnston Ellacombe Chime Apparatus please call us on 01883 740000 or, if preferred use the contact form.