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History of Bell Chimes

One of the oldest man-made instruments is bells. Dating back to the 4th century BC, there are stone cuttings showing bells on the horses of Alexander the Great�s war charioteers. Sets of tuned bells have been found dating to the 5th century BC in China. The first use of bells in the Christian church is recorded in Italy in the 4th century. Bells cast from metal were first developed in the Bronze Age, achieving a particularly high level of sophistication in China.

What made bells so popular? The sound of a bell was different: it carried for longer distances and was uniquely recognizable. It called people to something special, whether to church for prayer during the European middle Ages or town meeting or fire. A call to prayer was a welcome relief from the harsh realities of daily existence. The Catholics consider bells a representation of the voice of God and of paradise. In addition, the bells had other duties. Certain designated church bells were rung when there was forthcoming an important announcement from the Prince or from the ruling civil body. Other bell sounds alarmed people at the approach of an enemy, or, worst of all, of a house being on fire, which often spread to the whole city or village. One of the earliest recorded mentions of the shipboard bell was on the British ship Grace Dieu about 1485. The sounding of a ship's bell found a natural application as a warning signal to other vessels in poor visibility and fog. Today, maritime law requires all ships to carry an efficient bell.

For centuries, folklore has held that bells have the power to banish evil and invite good fortune. In the Middle Ages, doctors suggested ringing bells to clear the air of disease. Church bells were deemed so important to ward off evil that the bells were baptized, named for saints and even said to ring on their own.

Today, with increased interest in feng shui, the practice of living in balance with nature, more people are using bells in their homes and offices. According to feng shui, chimes and bells don't just ward off evil, they actually call in positive energy called Chi. Feng shui says that hanging bells often incorporated into a wind chime in the entryway of your house opens you to new opportunities and can circulate and enhance the energy within your living area.

Bell chimes are popular throughout the world and the variety of styles and tones are almost limitless so they appeal to a huge audience today.


History of Bell Chimes