Memorial Church Bell at Harvard University

The original 1926 bell at Memorial Church located in Harvard Yard, Cambridge, suffered a catastrophic crack and had to be replaced. The church had a new bell cast in England and placed in their steeple. They decided that they wanted to display the original bell in front of the church, so they brought it to me to be cared for and made presentable. After meeting with the architect (Payette Associates) as well as people from Memorial Church and Harvard University, I developed a treatment plan that they approved.

    Upon receiving the bell we detached the cast iron yoke/counter weight from the bell so that we could treat them separately. The 4500 pound, 60 inch diameter bronze bell was cleaned with high pressure hot water followed by a brush blasting with glass beads to prepare it for patination. A Ferric Nitrate patina (Hughes and Rowe formula) was applied hot followed by a sprayed on coat of Incralac.

    The cast iron yoke was stripped of old paint, and brush blasted with ground glass. The yoke was primered with a high zinc content epoxy followed by an appearance coat of a marine grade epoxy primer. Then a flat black catalyzed urethane top coat finished it off.

    The architect wanted the bell to be suspended a few inches above the pavement surface, and to be locked so that it wouldn’t move. We fabricated a pair of steel stanchions using plasma cut 2 inch plate and 1 inch plate that was cnc bored and tapped on the top to accept the original pillow blocks. We removed the original bearings from the pillow blocks and cnc machined some heavy duty shaft collars to fit inside the pillow block shells and lock the bell once it was leveled.