Going into a one-bell tower can be an adventure, a piece of cake, dirty, dangerous, or impossible.
Make sure you have permission and someone below to track your progress, danger or need for help.
Never - never - never - start climbing a ladder while some one else is on it.
This was not a normal place for people to roam and no thought was ever given for someone to return once the original job was completed.
Some can only be reached from the roof.
There are often two ropes coming from the ceiling above:
The thick rope swings the bell back and forth, moving the clapper alternately to
both sides of the bell.
(FYI) I have read that the swinging motion can exert up to a 40% horizontal pull depending on the fulcrum used.
The thin rope is connected to the tolling hammer and is used for funeral tolls, 4-6 seconds apart.
Today, this is often done when the hearse is arriving, leaving or the body is entering or leaving the church.
It rises from resting in a flat position below the bell in an arc to ring it.
In the old days, the toll was rung the number of times of the age of someone when they had just died.
This alerted the community to start cooking for the bereaved family.
Those were the days when bells were a means of quick communication.
These were also the days before enbalming, so proper preparations had to be made quickly.
WARNING: Never pull on the tolling rope while the swinging rope is moving.
If the swinging bell collides with the tolling hammer, the hammer certainly will be damaged, and the bell probably will be.
Damage to the hammer might be repairable, but damage to the bell will NOT be.
[Added by CZ]
If you see a square wood cutout section on a ceiling under the belfry, this is where the bell was hoisted thru, into the belfry.
The frame supporting the bell is most often an A-frame, notice the angled supports.
If you must, get a primer on the dangers you may encounter upon climbing a tower, in another section.
If you intend to write ALLCHIMES for more information -
1. Go to the research/buy/sell section and get as much 1-19 info as possible
2. Make sure to get the Meneely name and location correct.
There were competing foundries; they were TROY, WEST TROY and WATERVLIET, NY.
3. If TROY, NY foundry, you can look up the bell records in the KEHN book Excel file, at the bottom of that section.