View a slideshow of the restoration process of the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon that took place from 2006 to 2008.
A major restoration of the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon was undertaken between 2006 and 2008 by Royal Eijsbouts of Asten. Forty-six of the bells were taken to Asten for repair and restoration. With time, soot and grime had accumulated on the bells and flat spots developed on the clappers. The bells were cleaned down to the patina, and new clappers with round shanks were added, enabling them to be turned numerous times when flat spots develop, thus extending the life of the clapper.
The upper belfry was reorganized so that the smallest bells are now at the top of the bell frame, giving them the optimal exposure to listeners on the ground (originally, the smaller bells were on the bottom and were overpowered by the larger bells).
The counterweights were replaced by springs that assist the performer in moving the largest clappers. The playing console was reoriented in the tower to shorten the length of the connections to the bells. The bulky connecting rods were replaced by lightweight wires, and new clappers provided for the 58 smaller bells. The previous roller-bar design connecting the clappers to the clavier introduced unnecessary friction and mass to the carillon. The new L-shaped directed crank design uses shorter wires and less mass, resulting in a lighter, more responsive carillon.
Because the connecting wires stretch and shrink with temperature changes, adjusters are needed to optimize the carillonneur’s control over each note.
Finally, the Gothic-style carved oak keyboard and pedalboard were restored, and updated to a modern standard key layout. The original clavier had a custom layout. Retaining the original frame but reworking the worn keys, pedals and action, the new clavier now has a world-standard layout, which makes it easier for guest performers to play.
The carillon playing cabin was completely rebuilt, and heat and air conditioning added. It now seats some twenty visitors at a time (visitors are welcome to climb the tower at any regular carillon recital time, meeting the carillonneur half an hour before the recital).