Schulmerich Carillons in Sellersville, PA for the Coca-Cola Pavilion 1964 World's Fair in New York. At 610 bells it was the largest instrument of its kind. After the fair Coca-Cola moved the instrument to Georgia's Stone Mountain Park. By this time 610 bells wasn't the largest any more so a few more ranks were added during the move putting it at 732 bells.After Ms. Mabel played I dropped by the console to say hello and give her dog Max a few scratches. It turns out that Max wasn't here today because we had guests. The guests were from Schulmerich. One from HQ up in PA and the other is the "local" field engineer who currently resides down in Florida. They were here for a checkup to assess how the instrument is doing and plan any corrective actions. I was in for a treat as the field engineer and his son took me down to the vault underneath the console to see how it all worked.
The Carillon resides in 9 equipment cabinets in a climate-control room underneath the console. The original cabinets were mounted to the wall. The current arrangement seems to give them more space and make it easier to work on the instrument.
This is the digital control panel. It controls the hourly chimes and the daily "recorded" performances for the carillon when Ms. Mabel isn't playing live. There is a recorder up on top of the console that accepts a memory card of sorts where performances can be recorded. They can then be loaded in and programed for playback down here.
Here is rack #5 all opened up. These are the bells for the harp, celesta and quadra bell sounds. The lower notes (longer bars) are at the top and they get higher (shorter bars) as they go down.
The bell's bars have 3 solenoid controlled strikers under each one. I presume that's how they get three different bell sounds out of the same bar in this unit. Each bar has an electromagnetic pickup along the back (similar to guitar pickups underneath the strings.) Each pickup then runs to a preamp/mixer.
All the various preamps run to a master mixer where each one of the sets of sounds can be finely controlled to mix with the others when played together.
Finally the sound goes through power amplifiers (I counted at least 6 of them) and out to the tower by the lake.
It was quite a treat to be able to be in there while they had things opened up. It's not like the equipment cabinets had doors or easy access to what's inside. I just lucked out on visiting on the right day. One of these days I plan to put up a web page or two detailing the history of this instrument. It deserves a little more than the 3 lines of text the park devotes to it on their web site.
- Schulmerich Carillons at the fair from the site nywf64.com
- Coca-Cola Pavilion at the fair from the site nywf64.com
- Stone Mountain Park's Carillon Info Page