Friday, January 7, 2011

Largest Bell in the World at Cologne Cathedral is Silenced

Largest free swinging bell in the world:  Shortly before the Epiphany Mass the clapper of the 24 ton bell -- The "decke Pitter" is the German Peace Bell.

The Most Famous Spires in Europe

Cologne ( Shock in the Cologne Cathedral: The bell known as "Decker Pitter" by the locals is silenced.  On Thursday morning the clapper with a 3.24 Meter diameter and with a weight of 24 tons, the largest free swinging bell in the world, fell.  The cause is still unknown.  Possibly there was some material weakening in the structure connecting the clapper to the bell itself.  No one was injured as the Cathedral Provost said to the Cologne "Express".

For that reason, at least till the repair of the Cologne Bell, the 21 ton St. Stephen's Cathedral bell is the largest free swinging, sounding bell in a church tower.  Its 800 kilogram weight clapper will be replaced by a lighter 200 kilogram clapper.

The deep C of the sound in the Cologne Cathedral should have pealed shortly before the 10 O'Clock hour of the Feast of the "Coming of the Magi" [Epiphany] on Three Kings Day. The approximately one ton clapper fell around 9:30, it is said.  It fell on the floor of the bell room and broke in two.  The Cathedral authority will inform the public, through a report on Cathedral Radio, about the extent of the damages.

Since 1924 "The German Peace Bell"

The Bell was poured in Thuringian Apolda in 1923. It was consecrated on 30 November 1924 as the "German Peace Bell".  The predecessor which was made from melted French rifles in 1873 was removed and melted down to make weapons in 1918.  The "decke Pitter" is struck on high Catholic feasts, and has been rung for the city only after the end of the Second World War and the Reunification of Germany.

The "decke Pitter" has held its record title as the largest free swinging bell till today -- to the annoyance of the citizens of the US City Newport.  There a would be patron financed the pouring of a 30 ton bell in France, which would have left the Peter's Bell in the dust.  In any case there isn't a church tower which is stable enough.

The largest bell in the world overall was probably the "Zar Kolkol" in Moscow poured in 1734.  It weighed 200 tons and is six meters high. It was never struck, because it was severely damaged by a fire at the bell smith.


Anonymous said...

The real relics of the Magi are in the basilica of Sant'Eustorgio in Milan.

Anonymous said...

On the day of the Feast of the Epiphany at the Cathedral that houses their relics? C'est incroyable.

Peterman said...

Hey Anon,

Get your facts straight. Milan has "fragments" of bone which were given to them in the early 1900's as a goodwill gesture. The majority of the remains are indeed in Cologne.

Anonymous said...

Get your facts straight. The previous bell was cast from 22 French Cannon. Not rifles.

Tancred said...

Doesn't. Geschutz mean rifle?

Tancred said...

Ok. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Anon is surely right. Rifles would be steel or probably iron back then. Cannon are made of gun-metal, an alloy of copper and tin (about 89% Cu :11% Sn)and bells are made of bell-metal whis is about 22% tin and 78% Copper.

So to make bells from cannon is fairly easy, just add tin.

Tancred said...

Sometimes we're either drunk or it's four in the morning, occasionally both.

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