The Pummerin Tolls Again

News Brief: Mar., 2011

church bell

The Pummerin in the north tower of Vienna's Stephansdom, July 2008 | Photo: Gryffindor, WikiCommons

Vienna’s most famous church bell, the Pummerin in St. Stephan’s Cathedral, will get a new clapper on Mar. 9, Ash Wednesday.

The demounting and installation of the new clapper, will be carried out by the 400-year-old Austrian bell foundry Grassmayr. A time frame of five weeks was set aside for the work, which will be done in time for the 40-day lenten season. The new clapper was poured Dec. 4, 2010, in Badischen Pfinztal, Germany by the company Rosswag. It is crafted out of better and more durable steel (RSK 100) and weighs 200 kilograms less than the old one. This ensures a longer lifetime for a bell that rings a total of 20 minutes per year.

“Although the new clapper is lighter, the dynamic will be the same, and the area where it hits the bell will be larger,” says Innsbrucker bell expert Peter Grassmayr.  He expects the sound of the bell to be as beautiful as before, if not better.

“The sound that develops in the bell depends on the intensity of the impact, the angle, and the hardness of the clapper,” says cathedral’s building contractor Wolfgang Zehetner. The bell, with its new clapper, will sound for the first time Mar. 9, at 17:00.

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