Having returned to base with the freshly tuned bell, we completed the tuning of the 16″ bell.
I flew into Chicago O’Hare and was picked up from there by Ben. The first port of call was the chapel at Culver Military Academy, where were were met by John Gouwens, the carilloneur and JJ Smith. It is a number of years since I last met John so it was really good to see him again. He gave us an excellent demonstration of the 1950 G&J carillon. Although the treble bells are really light by modern standards, in that acoustic they sing out really well. As the last generation of G&J carillons, it has many innovations that have been adopted as standard in more modern carillons.
There is also an electro-pneumatic clock chime/tune player that John maintains and repairs. Not many of these stillexist in playing condition.There is more about the carillon and John at http://faculty.culver.org/gouwenj/organcarillon.asp
I saw this press release posted the other day. It’s always a sad moment when such long established firms loose their individuality:
Dutch Royal Bell Foundries to join forces
As from May 1st 2014, Royal Eijsbouts from Asten and Royal Petit & Fritsen from Aarle-Rixtel will join forces and head towards the future together. This step was chosen as being the best answer to challenges both companies are facing. In the case of Petit & Fritsen, a succession issue is imminent, whereas Royal Eijsbouts has the ambition to further strengthen and extend its position in international markets. This acquisition will meet both aspects.
In practice, this decision means that all operations of Petit & Fritsen in Aarle-Rixtel will be moved entirely to the plant of Royal Eijsbouts in Asten. Some employees will be offered an early retirement package, the others will join Royal Eijsbouts.
The two companies are typical family-owned businesses and carry with them a long and illustrious history. Both Petit & Fritsen (since 1660) and Royal Eijsbouts (since 1872) attract customers from all around the world due to the outstanding quality of their church bells and carillons. This will not change as, even under the flag of Royal Eijsbouts, the Petit & Fritsen brand will live on and its distinctive bells will remain available to customers just as in the past.
The management of both companies are very pleased to have reached consensus on this significant step that was carefully prepared in the past months. Both are convinced this will contribute to further secure the eminent position of the Netherlands in the world of cast bronze bells.
For further information please contact:
Joost EIJSBOUTS phone + 31 (0)493 691445
Frank FRITSEN phone + 31 (0)492 381287